Last Sunday, on the job, I got 'killdeered'... while walking through a field, I was confronted by a small, noisy plover (Charadrius vociferus) that was doing its best impression of an injured bird. It's a sham performance, an ostentatious play-acting of physical distress inspired by evolutionary distress, the fear that a predator would find the bird's precious eggs. The display looked a lot like this:
Last night, while walking through the same field, I encountered the same bird, which started the same display. Being fond of these noisy, comical birds, which look like slightly malfunctioning windup toys, with their ultrafast gait and sudden stops, I immediately shifted into investigative mode. I proceeded through the field at an excruciatingly slow pace... it was like an inversion of navigating a minefield- a methodical creep while scanning for the slightest hint of anything out of the ordinary, not because of a fear of one's own destruction, but for a concern to avoid the destruction of an innocent family of charming neighbors. I was cast in the role of an unwilling Godzilla, liable to stomp on a happy home. My patience paid off, I was able to discover the minimalist excuse of a nest, scratched into a bare spot of ground:
I marked the vicinity of the spot by jamming a stick into the ground vertically, then placing two sticks parallel on the ground, flanking the nest. I left a note for one of the daytime managers, who has a soft spot in his heart for animals, so he could let everybody on the day shift know to give this particular spot a wide birth so as not to trample on these precious treasures, hidden so well in plain sight.