I built a little house for the eggs.
A killdeer had laid four eggs in the middle of the arena, where my horses would destroy them, and I was trying to protect them. That was a year ago, and I didn’t know back then that killdeers lay eggs in open space and don’t really want or need houses.
I didn’t even know they were killdeers.
But the eggs hatched, the little baby birds danced all over the arena for a few weeks, sometimes chasing me and Annie as we rode by.
And then they were gone.
After they left, I moved the little birdhouse onto one of the concrete blocks surrounding the arena, where it’s been sitting ever since.
A few days ago I was riding Annie and heard a familiar squawk. I looked down to see the telltale wounded-bird fake-out that a mother killdeer does when she’s trying to draw attention away from her eggs.
And sure enough, there were 4 perfect little eggs tucked into the arena sand, a few feet from the birdhouse still resting on the concrete block.
Yesterday a one-day storm bigger than anyone had predicted moved through, causing major flooding in susceptible areas like flood plains.
A few acres of my place, including the arena, are in a flood plain.
And last night we had a massive flood.
The water pulled up some of the heavy concrete blocks around the arena and moved them to the pasture. My mounting block disappeared, and the heavy 2X6 installed to protect the main waterline went missing. My driveway was washed out. And the remnants of that little birdhouse ended up over a hundred yards away, buried in silt.
The eggs, of course, were destroyed. The lightest, most delicate, and frailest things out here couldn’t survive a flood that had ripped up concrete blocks.
I walked out there to survey the damage and heard a squawk coming from the arena. I moved closer and saw the mother killdeer doing her wounded-bird fake-out, and I felt a tinge of sadness that she still was protecting something that wasn’t there anymore.
I stopped walking and she hustled off, pecking at the mud.
The sunlight caught something white and gray and spotted where the bird had been.I moved closer.
And took this photo.