With regards to getting the Dallas Parks and Recreation Department to protect a killdeer nest at White Rock Lake that happens to be in an area frequented by people and landscaped by staff, I said “I suspect this will be an uphill battle against Dallas.”
I was wrong.
I met with Mark from the Parks & Recreation Department, specifically the group responsible for White Rock Lake, and he was sincere and interested. Not only did he want me to point out the location of the nest, but he asked about possible actions they might take that would protect it from mowing and other like activities (e.g., putting a few stakes around it to keep landscaping staff and equipment away).
Nothing about the meeting went as I expected. And that’s a good thing. I left feeling that this man sincerely wanted to protect the birds and the nest, and he wanted to do so with as little disruption as possible to the parents (both of whom made appearances, stood protectively near the nest and fussed vehemently at our presence).
Given the time of year, I intend to check the nest frequently since the chicks should be born soon (in the next few weeks, give or take). Young killdeer are precocial, meaning they are covered with down and can leave the nest and hunt as soon as their feathers dry. (This is an evolutionary adaptation that helps ground-nesting birds.) I’d love to get photos of the babies but would have to be in the right place at the right time in order to pull that off. I’ll try.
Meanwhile, I’m left gratified by the meeting and by Mark’s attentiveness and apparent interest in doing what’s best for the killdeer parents and their incubating brood. It could not have been more of a surprise.