Spotted Sandpiper, Killdeer, Nesting/ Distraction display and Predator Interest------Re: [Tweeters] RE: returning nestling to nest - addendum

notcalm at notcalm at
Sat Feb 27 21:02:46 PST 2010

Thanks for your comments, Jim.

I am glad the posting generated discussion and hope there will be more. In my opinion, approaching a nest for any reason is intrusive and should be avoided or handled very carefully. I would recommend that you forward your comments to the Burke website administrator at the University of Washington. Perhaps they would consider including your experience and thoughts as an addition in their Q & A section. The material came from the following website:

©2010 Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture .
All Rights Reserved . Box 353010, University of Washington ,
Seattle, WA 98195-3010, Phone: 206-543-5590.
On the UW campus at 17th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street .

University of Washington

On a related note:
Last year, I came upon a Spotted Sandpiper and Killdeer, within several feet of each other, both doing distraction displays.
The Sandpiper was doing the rodent/mouse display. I was surprised and stopped. At first, I thought it was a a young Killdeer,
because of proximity to the adult, which I quickly concluded would be a very poor survival technique. The sandpiper continued the display for 60 feet,
stopped and turned to look at me. I had never seen this behavior and was later able to find written descriptions. After watching for a few minutes, I turned
and was equally surprised to see three gulls had landed on a low limb behind me, intently watching the scene. It was a interesting and informative experience.
I learned that even when respectfully watching a scene, all present, including predators were interested in my attention and focus.

Dan Reiff
"Dan Reiff, PhD" <notcalm at

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Greaves" <lbviman at>
To: tweeters at
Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2010 7:15:52 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: [Tweeters] RE: returning nestling to nest - addendum

I forgot to mention: be cognizant of the presence of jays or crows
nearby, and make every effort to ensure that they do not "perceive"
that you are at a nest [and of course chase your cats and dogs away,
and look for snakes]... Avoid putting the chick(s) back if it might
cause parents to start scolding - wait for parents to finish with
nestlings still being tended and head out for more food, then slip in
quietly (even if corvids are nearby, as long as no fuss occurs,
things should be fine - use your judgment, but if corvid more than 30
feet away, and not able to see the nest, it should be safe). If the
chick is fussy, cup one hand over it to calm it, while gently holding
it in the other. YOU MUST HOLD THE WINGS AND gently HOLD THE FEET to
the body in order to help calm it. Any chick that is capable of
running or hopping, is also capable of escaping one's hand...
predators key in on "flutter flight"... Best solution: grip firmly
but gently ABOVE the "knuckle" or what we might think of as the
"knee" joint between tarsus and bone [femur?] above it, but again,
gently. Never grasp bird by its feet, as in young birds they are not
fully ossified and toes are fragle; be VERY gentle with tarsus as
well as that is not done ossifying, as is the rest of the bird's
bone... Good luck. Or, better, have faith in your ability to do it
right. Birds are resilient if treated well!" :-) - Jim Greaves

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