PROTECTIVE: The parent of a cluster of eggs on the Harwood Slipway construction site let's us know we're too close for comfort.
PROTECTIVE: The parent of a cluster of eggs on the Harwood Slipway construction site let's us know we're too close for comfort. Tim Howard

Workers take nesting plovers under their wing

One of the baby plovers the workers at the Harwood Slipway construction site have helped nurse over recent weeks.
One of the baby plovers the workers at the Harwood Slipway construction site have helped nurse over recent weeks.

NESTING plovers can be annoying creatures but the Harwood Marine workers building the new slipway have taken a nesting pair right in the middle of their worksite under their wing.

All the care and attention they have lavished on the pair, who decided to lay their clutch of eggs on a non-descript mound of earth on the site, has come to fruition with the eggs hatching successfully this week.

Plovers, or masked lapwings as they are also known, are normally placid, if noisy creatures, but around nesting time they can get positively belligerent.

 

PROTECTIVE: The parent of a cluster of eggs on the Harwood Slipway construction site let's us know we're too close for comfort.
PROTECTIVE: The parent of a cluster of eggs on the Harwood Slipway construction site let's us know we're too close for comfort. Tim Howard

Harwood Marine managing director Ross Roberts said staff had been taking particular care of this pair and were excited to see a hatchling emerge this week.

Plovers are tenacious and imaginative when it comes to guarding those precious eggs.

 

THE PRIZE: This cluster of four eggs, lying in a slight hollow in the dirt, has occupied the attention of mum and dad for weeks.
THE PRIZE: This cluster of four eggs, lying in a slight hollow in the dirt, has occupied the attention of mum and dad for weeks. Tim Howard

They can launch an all out assault on threats like dogs and cats, striking with the spur on their wings if necessary.

Or they can fiercely protect a fake nest to distract an attacker.

At other times they will feign injury, hopping on one leg or folding a wing to distract the predator away from eggs or chicks.

 

DECEPTION: Agression wasn't working, so this parenting plover switched to Plan B, feigning injury to lure us away from the nest.
DECEPTION: Agression wasn't working, so this parenting plover switched to Plan B, feigning injury to lure us away from the nest. Tim Howard

Plover chicks can display distinctly human traits after reaching full growth at four to five months.

They often stay with the parents for one or two years resulting in family groups of three to five birds nesting in one location over the summer.

When not defending the nest the birds forage on the ground for worms and insects.



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