While out running, I stumbled across this plucky little bird called a killdeer. She had created a nest by the side of the road amid gravel and dried horse droppings. The nearer I came, the more she ruffled her feathers and squawked at me warily.
Then, feigning a hurt wing, she darted off, attempting to draw me away from her hidden treasure:
Seeing the speckled, camouflaged eggs up close was so fascinating, I came back later with kids and camera in tow. We oohed and aaaahed, careful not to touch and making an effort to hurry as the mama bird circled, doing her best to interrupt our scrutiny.
The minute we turned our backs to leave, she settled herself protectively over her nest and watched us retreat. What a good little mama.
I recently read a book on unschooling with a chapter entitled, "Animals are better than books about animals". After our little encounter with the killdeer, I whole-heartedly agree. :)