About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The answer to "Can you move a killdeer nest?"

A killdeer pair has inconveniently decided to nest at the end of our gravel driveway.  Is there any way to move the eggs so that the parents know where they have been put?  If we could move them just 10 feet we would be able to use our driveway again. Thanks for any help you could give us.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
I wouldn’t recommend trying to move the nest. This could injure the eggs or spook the nervous parents enough to abandon the nest.

Unfortunately, killdeer have the habit of building their nests in the open, rocky areas like driveways because it gives them a good view of any approaching predators. The nests are simple scrapes in the earth that nestle eggs that look like the surrounding rocks.

After egg-laying begins, Killdeer often add rocks, bits of shell, sticks, and trash to the nest area. Once camouflaged, the birds find the nest because they have a map in their head of where they placed every rock, twig, and shell.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Incubation Period is 22–28 days and then once the Killdeer chicks hatch they will walk away from the nest as soon as their feathers dry.

If possible set up an obstacle to warn car wheels away. Put up orange cones, reflectors or chairs on each side of the nest to drive around.

I know this is very inconvenient but the upside is that all these babies will immediately begin eating pesky bugs as soon as they hatch. Killdeer are usually unobtrusive. Just running and stopping in search of insects and earthworms. 

Related Articles:
- Killdeer nest abandoned http://goo.gl/qNkf3w
- What bird makes a ground nest in Michigan? http://goo.gl/2yc02
- What Do I Feed Baby Killdeer? http://goo.gl/fXiYD
- Nesting Questions http://goo.gl/pNt7V

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