SCRAPES, CHICKS & BROKEN WINGS: WILSON’S PLOVERS ON ABACO (3)


Wilson's Plover Delphi BeachSCRAPES, CHICKS & BROKEN WINGS: WILSON’S PLOVERS ON ABACO (3)

The male plover above is keeping watch from a rocky vantage point over an area at the north end of the beach at Delphi. And with good reason. It’s the summer breeding season, and on the sand are some nests. One of them is his.

This is a ‘scrape’ – not the carefully constructed nest that most birds make, but a shore bird’s collection of sticks and twigs – sometimes stones or shells – clumped together on the sand to provide a comfortable place for the mother to sit until the eggs have hatched.Wilson's Plover Scrape CL JPG

Though tiny at first, the chicks soon become independent enough to explore their surroundingsWilson's Plover Chick, Delphi Beach, Abaco

Usually, there will be a pair of chicks, maybe more. The two in the photo below have scuttled to the back of the beach for safety because the adults thought I was getting a bit close, and sent them to hide in the pine needlesWilson's Plover Chicks Delphi Beach

When a nest is threatened by a predator, Wilson’s plovers have a defensive technique that is remarkable to watch. Other shore birds, for example Killdeer, resort to this method as well. A parent will flutter about pathetically on the sand, apparently with one or both wings broken, attracting the predator by its faked vulnerability. The plover will gradually draw the threat away from the nest area, protecting the eggs or allowing chicks to make themselves scarce. Here are some examples of the ‘broken wing display’, all photographed on the beach at Delphi. The first 2 images show a female; the third, a male.Wilson's Plover - broken wing display CL1 Wilson's Plover - broken wing display CL4 Wilson's Plover - broken wing display CL6

Athough the little chicks are vulnerable, they grow quicklyWilson's Plover Chicks x 2 RH Delphi

Before very long, they are able to get onto the same rocky vantage point as their parents to practise surveying the scene. Next summer, they will be keeping watch over nests and chicks of their own.Wilson's Plover chick.Delphi Club.Abaco Bahamas.Tom Sheley JPG

The previous posts in the series are WILSON’S PLOVERS (1) showing the adults;  and WILSON’S PLOVERS (2) that shows how plovers nesting on the shore at Nettie’s Point were protected from human activity in the boat-launching area.

“I’m off now. See you next year”Wilson's Plover Delphi Beach AbacoCredits: scrape & broken wing display, Clare Latimer; last (and best) chick image, Tom Sheley; the rest, RH

9 thoughts on “SCRAPES, CHICKS & BROKEN WINGS: WILSON’S PLOVERS ON ABACO (3)

  1. Hello Rolling Harbour, haven’t been here in a while, but glad to be back and with a new gravatar. Anyway, you must have spent a lot of time in order to document the behaviors, the eggs and chicks. Very interesting what you on the beach!

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    • Welcome back, you and your Gravatar! Funny how one follows sites then has a bit of a holiday for one reason or another… always nice to return, though. Glad you like the plovers; mystified by the missing word(s) – ‘photograph’, ‘see’, & ‘get up to’ are candidates… RH

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  2. Dear RH,
    thank you very much for all this info about this bird and the fine pictures.
    Here in Cley the Nature Reserve is like all the marshes still under water (the Coast Rd. was flooded until yesterday). I noticed that these huge waters now attract a lot of swans.
    Have a great Sunday
    Klausbernd and his busy Bookfayries Siri and Selma

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      • Dear RH
        fortunately we live on high ground 🙂
        We are dry and warm and life is more or less normal again but the Coast Rd. is closed still (we don`t mind)
        Greetings from Cley
        Klausbernd and his happy Bookfayries Siri and Selma

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  3. Pingback: Faltering Flyers | Sunset Daily

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