ZooAmerica is a big advocate of making room and good habitat for wildlife, so here’s an excellent example from our partner, the Hershey Nursery. This interesting article was written by John Carricato.
The Hershey Nursery plant yard at 25 Northeast Driveis our “holding yard” for trees, shrubs, and perennials we buy for our landscape and maintenance jobs, as well as a holding area for the planted pots placed around our Hershey Entertainment & Resorts properties. The aisles and areas around our plant beds are a crushed limestone base.
A beautiful small bird called a killdeer has claimed ourfenced-in stone-covered plant yard as a perfect place to raise their young.
A shorebird of the Plover family, the killdeer make a small indentation among the stones and lay their well camouflaged eggs – usually four – on the ground. They rely on their tan and white coloring to blend in with surroundings, but when a nesting killdeer feels threatened by another bird or human in close proximity to its nest, it swiftly moves away from the nest and drops a wing and flutters around the ground like a wounded bird to lure the intruder away from her clutch of eggs.
When the eggs hatch, the chicks can walk almost immediately. They “imprint” to the parent birds as they hatch, and begin to follow them around as the parents show them what to eat. Birds that can walk right after hatching are called “precocial chicks.” Baby ducks and geese are also in this group. Killdeer are voracious insect hunters, and the bird can be seen running a short distance and stopping to look around for insects it stirs up, then quickly moving again.
We have often noted six to ten clutches hatch in our yard each year. Since building the plant yard in 1995, this one species has raised between 400 and 500 young.
Other species of songbirds, like robins, catbirds and sparrows, have claimed our trees and shrubs for nest building sites. Our plant yard is not a traditional nursery because we don’t raise the plants here. However, our created habitat has become a wonderful “bird nursery” that benefits our plants as they devour insects all day. And it has become another reason I enjoy coming to the plant yard each day.