Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15 - Lisa's Musings (on killdeer) and Every Day Life

Today was Road Commission meeting day, and it also included some communing with killdeer.

This is only the second time I've spent any time with these quirky little birds; my first meeting was at a dog show in Indiana.

Today, it was on the grounds of the Washtenaw County Road Commission headquarters on Zeeb Road.

Actually, when I saw them, I wasn't sure what kind of bird would hang out in the middle of the driveway, then just skitter away -- not fly -- when I approached.

The moment I drove by, first one bird, then a second one returned to the pavement. So I asked someone if they knew what kind of birds they were.

The answer I got was a killdeer.

I was told that the birds try to lure away onlookers from their nests. So I looked for a nest in the opposite direction of where the birds were trying to take me -- but I didn't see one. I wouldn't have disturbed it, I just thought it might be neat to see what one looked like.

So, after yet another quick meeting (did I mention I really LIKE covering these mid afternoon, very short meetings?) I went back outside to find the killdeer.

I tried to get a photo of them but for all their skittering while I was standing at a distance, when I tried to get too close, they flew away ... guess they figured they couldn't out run me, which I'm quite sure they could.

So when I got home, I looked them up. They are supposed to be a shorebird, according to All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Humm ... there aren't too many shores anywhere near the Road Commission HQ -- at least none that I know about.

Second, they are "graceful plovers common to lawns, golf courses, athletic fields and parking lots."


And they run across the ground in spurts -- yup -- "stopping with a jolt every so often to check their progress, or to see if they've started up any insect prey."

It's all coming clear to me now.

And as I read further, I learned that they are the least water-inclined of all the shorebirds, which begs the question, then why call them one?

They have a distinctive kill-deer call, according to their description, but I didn't hear it. Plus, they do like muddy lagoons and I think there might be one of those in the back of the Road Commission property.

So today I learned more about upcoming road projects and killdeer.

I just never know what I might find when I set out to cover a story. It's one of the reasons why I love this job so much.

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