Ali et al. - wonderful experience, urban/suburban flat gravel roofs are an ecological niche. Back in 1965-69 when our older daughters were in grade school, I banded flightless young Upland Sandpipers (then known as Upland Plover and along the way even as Bartramian Sandpiper) found on the mowed portion of the school lawn.
In chatting with the school custodian during my visits, I learned that he observed adults frequently on the roof where he thought they nested before juveniles appeared on the lawn and roof visits ceased. The roof appeared to provide some nesting sanctuary from those parts of the lawn which were frequently and regularly mowed.
From: John Snell <[log in to unmask]>
To: VTBIRD <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tue, Apr 26, 2016 12:23 pm
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] Killdeer, chapter 10!
Great story Ali. I used to work up on roofs at night with infrared imagers and it was so easy to see the Killdeers who seemed totally perplexed that I knew where they were. Even when they flew off the next, the eggs remained very warm and, to me, visible. The advent of all rubber, no gravel roofs means less nesting habitat thought U32 in East Montpelier installed a couple square yards of gravel just to try to attract them.
On Apr 26, 2016, at 9:52 AM, alison wagner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Fellow birders,
> Snow on the 26th of April has enabled me to find, for the first time in ten years, the Killdeer nest on top of the 1958 wing-addition of the Hinesburg Community School! This roof has been habitat for the shorebirds every year, but they have blended in so well with the multi-colored round stones, they've always eluded my detection. Regardless of my endless searching and waiting for a changing of the guard, I've never found them (like looking for that one jigsaw puzzle piece that MUST be missing). Until now! Like Horton the elephant, the Killdeer are faithful 100 percent! The snow is melting on the parent on the nest while it covers the roof around them and eliminates their ability to hide.
> I've been able to share this with middle school students and the timing is perfect as they have been learning about natural selection! Questions are coming out:
> What will happen to the eggs? ( hopefully the parent's body will keep them warm)
> Can we bring the eggs inside to keep them warm? (it's best to let nature do the work)
> Will the eggs freeze? What if they die? (the parents will try again).
> Fingers crossed they'll all make it through this cold spell and face the challenges that await the chicks after hatching!
> HCS (& Huntington)