Thursday, April 19, 2012

Farm Bulletin: The Nature of Farming

The latest bulletin from contributor Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm introduces some brand new additions to the residents of their farm in Gaston.

The killdeer is the common plover of cultivated ground. Their nests are frequently encountered in our fields. It is a simple depression lined with a few bits of straw and containing three or four eggs. While the female is brooding, the male acts as a sentry, drawing or driving away threats.

Birds like owls and robins are called atricial; they are born naked and blind and must be tended by their parents for weeks, or even months in the case of birds of prey. Precocial birds, such as the killdeer, are born with a down coat and start foraging shortly after they hatch. Within hours these downy balls are scurrying about the fields like Miyazaki's soot balls (detail, left).

Even though the chicks can chase down their own food, the parents remain in attendance, ready to sound the alarm when a harrier is near, or produce a broken wing in an attempt to draw us away. I was planting chickpeas and favas Sunday, and three chicks, just a day or so out the egg, found the freshly turned soil an irresistible lunch counter. After a couple of passes, the parents regarded the noisy tractor as harmless.


pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

Sweet! What a lovely picture.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Yes, Michele, in addition to all of his other talents, he's an incredible photographer, too. (Hmmm…there might be a future blog post there.)