Nesting killdeer claim school playground as new digs
Terry Fox Elementary School students enjoying an unexpected lesson in wildlife management
A pair of nesting killdeer is calling a Bathurst school playground home, and students and staff are making every effort to ensure the misguided birds are comfortable in their new digs.
The killdeer arrived at Terry Fox Elementary School two weeks ago. When students found them they were worried about the mother bird and her eggs and went straight to principal Shari Smith.
"She dispatched one of her team to come and he was here that afternoon and put up a little fencing just to make sure that the bird had a protected area to hopefully get her eggs to hatch in."
Killdeer nest in dry, sandy environments and Smith suspects the pair has four eggs camouflaged amid the stones.
Katie the killdeer
Diminishing habitat has caused a decline in the birds over the last few years but Katie the killdeer, as she's known, has taken over the playground.
The birds are nesting in the stones next to the swing set.
While students miss their swings, they admit it's a trade-off because now they can watch the birds at recess.
Since their discovery, students have been learning all they can about killdeer.
"It's not only the mom that stays on their nest. The dad and the mom both switch, and if the mom's on, the dad will search for food and if the dad's on the nest, the mom will search for food," said Lee.
Provincial bird experts say shorebirds are nesting closer and closer to buildings, parking lots ... and schools.
They say nest sites are usually best left undisturbed.