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.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Why no birds are incubating the eggs on the ground

We have 2 killdeer nests on our back patio. One with 5 eggs the other with only one. However I have not see the parents all day. Is it common for them to not incubate the nest round the clock? 

That is a good observation! The Killdeer parents don’t start sitting on the eggs to incubate them until the clutch (a hatch of eggs) is complete. So even though the first-laid egg spends a longer time in the shell than the last-laid, all the killdeer chicks develop at the same time and all hatch within 24 hours of each other. It takes 24 to 28 days of incubating for the chicks to hatch.

Try not to disturb the area very much. After egg-laying begins, Killdeer often add rocks, bits of shell, sticks, and other camouflage bits to the nest area. The Killdeer find the nest because they have a map in their head of where they placed every rock, twig, and shell.

Unlike most birds, killdeer parents do not feed their chicks. They are precocial birds which means they are well developed straight from the egg and are quickly able to stand and walk on their own. After the last egg has hatched, they lead the chicks to a feeding area full of insects. The chicks stay with the parents until they are able to fly. This happens when they are 20 to 31 days old.

If they had started to incubate and haven't come back something may have happened to the birds.

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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