"They put on a great act" .
She grazes and very slowly moves across the short grass pasture. Nothing phases her as her eyes intently search for the next mouth full of fresh green grass. A leopard frog leaps out of her way and a snap beetle scurries on to a dry cow-pie. She instantly flutters her big eyelashes to chase off the flies. Her tail does the same at the other end and she slowly grazes along.
All at once, a piercing alarm from right under her nose, startling her and she tosses her head up and rears back. A small bird frantically calls and flutters along the ground with one wing out stretched and the other wing dragging. The cow is momentarily in shock from being pulled from her dream world. It never dawned on her that she might be in somebody’s way.
The mother killdeer calls loudly and moves around behind the cow. Old Bessy follows with her nose searching out and her nostrils flaring. Hah! That small bird would have a reason to confront big old me?
The killdeer lures the unwounded guest away from her nest with a fluttering broken wing act. She did her job and convinced those big feet to go the other direction. The cow has lost interest in the crazy little bird and slips back into her grassy dream.
The mother killdeer quickly scampers a large circle around her nest then settles down over the five speckled eggs. Soon she will be able to move around the pasture with five flightless killdeer chicks close behind. They look like little cotton balls with long black legs and they scamper along just like mom. They quickly learn to snap up any insects they spot. This is the energy food they need to help them grow quickly and take flight.
The killdeer is one of the most vocal of the sandpipers and can even be heard calling in the night. Kill- deer, kill-deer, kill-deer.
Pastures are where nature's trail leads me today and I shared it with the dairy cows.
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