Lapwing chick and eggThe lapwing nest has made it through to the hatching stage, with two chicks and one egg still to go yesterday afternoon. As soon as all three are hatched, the chicks will leave the nest to find their own food, guided and protected by their parents. Unlike garden birds like blackbirds and blue tits, the parents don’t feed the chicks in the nest. They are more like ducks and chickens in that respect.

The crop has now grown up around the nest site so they are quite well hidden, and whenever danger approaches the adults will do various things to try to protect the chicks; if it’s a mammalian predator, they try to distract it away from the scene by running off pretending to be injured! If it’s a bird predator, they will mob it – usually the male does most of this while the female keeps a closer eye on the young, but she always moves away from the young to become a more obvious distraction. Two lapwing chicks and an egg
Can you spot the two camouflaged chicks?
Meanwhile, at the very small stage at least, the chicks’ natural instinct is to completely freeze, lying flat to the ground. They are very well camouflaged so this makes it very hard for the predators to find them especially while being harassed by the adults.

Despite weeks of no rain, the wet area in the field is still wet, so hopefully there will be plenty of insects and worms available for the chicks and adults to continue to feed in the area and they have a reasonable chance of success… fingers crossed for the next four weeks at least!

Dr Vince Lea
Head of Wildlife Monitoring 

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