Thursday, July 10, 2008

What's this?

Last week I was riding in the arena and noticed a bird hanging out. She (he?) seemed very upset when I rode along the north (long) side. She'd start hopping around over at the short end on the west like there was something very interesting that I should come see.
From the way she was behaving I figured she must have a nest in the weeds along that long side. Then I saw it, barely:

As you'll notice, it wasn't in the weeds. She had built her nest in the arena! It was just over halfway down and about 15 feet off the rail. I happened to glance down because I thought I saw a rock. (the ground where the ponies live is very stony. We constantly pick rocks from the arena.)
Nope it wasn't a rock. It was four eggs in a nest made of pebbles and dirt with a few little twigs! (not quite my idea of comfort! lol)

Next time I rode I set up some cones so I wouldn't trample the unhatched babies. Momma bird (daddy bird?) didn't get as upset this time. Probably because I made sure to give the nest area a wide berth.

Here's a closer view of the eggs. I put my thumb alongside for a size comparison. (my hands are fairly average size)

I couldn't get a clear pick of Parent Bird. But I did some research online and I am fairly sure it was some sort of plover or piper. The one that matches closest to my non-professional observations is a piping plover.


  1. Very cool findings. The only thing we see right now is puddles - lots of puddles. Tomorrow all we will see is mud and tramping through it to feed. You will have to let us know when they hatch! :)
    Eventually we will turn the babies and mommas out together. We have to wait for Molly to have hers, and get a little older. The baby is so cute, she runs all over the stall and does lap around mom. I will have to try and get a video.

  2. Welcome to the world of poorly placed killdeer nests! Wait until the ADORABLE babies hatch!!!

  3. Sweet pics!

    I have replied to your comment on my blog only I can;t actually explain what the "exciting" thing is right now (sorry).

  4. Ah..a killdeer nest..I just found one last week. The parents will act like they are dying of a broken wing to try to get you away from the nest. The babies are REALLY cute!

  5. Yup they are all right - Killdeer nest. There is one in our arena too... she just has a fit every time we ride by.

    But the little guys are just cute - zipping around everywhere. Cute, cute, cute.

    Not so cute when the barn cat gets them but - for a while they are cute.

  6. A nest in the arena footing........not good.

  7. Cant wait to see the babies when they hatch. they are adorable.

  8. OK, how does a horse person keep nails like that?! The egg pics are so neat! Love the safety cones and you're right, rocks and pebbles aren't my idea of comfort either!

  9. denise: I get gel nails b/c they're tough! The only horse related damage to them was one the very tip of one corner broke. Of course that was nothing, the tip of the actual bone in my finger broke as well!
    Seriously though, I also get them so that my hands look "nice" for work. I ask my nail tech to keep them as short as she can so they don't get in the way. I like them because your nails always look clean and tidy :) The nails are probably the most "girlie" thing about me! lol

  10. Wow! That's so cool! I hope you post some updates.

  11. Hello, I found your blog from Pony girls site and had to comment on the bird eggs. Two years ago we had Sand Pipers lay eggs in our arena. Momma or daddy had a fit when we would ride. The owner of the barn (we are boarders) put cones out as well and that seemed to help. We were all very happy when the babies hatched. Parents tried to build a nest the next year too.


Wordless Wednesday ~ new trailer!