Kildeer (Charadrius vociferus) make “scrape” nests in open habitat. The male kildeer scrapes or scratches a shallow depression with its feet. The female lays eggs in the bare scrape. Only after the eggs are laid will the killdeer add a few rocks, twigs or other items to the nest. The nest is completely exposed, relying on camouflage for protection. Killdeer also perform a “broken wing display” to lure predators away from the nest.
This year there is a killdeer nest in the middle of our gravel driveway (Modoc County CA). (I do believe there is a suicide gene involved!) Leonard and I have so far succeeded in isolating the nest and keeping unsuspecting vehicles away. However, as can be seen the nest is well hidden.
Hidden amid the gravel the nest contains four buffy eggs heavily marked with blackish-brown.
Killdeer chicks are able to leave the nest shortly after hatching. I am closely monitoring the nest and with luck will see the hatchlings before their mother moves them to a less exposed area.