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From: Wendy Barnard
Columbia, IL
We have a playset with walbash pea gravel. Some sort of bird has created a type of nest in the gravel and laid 4 eggs. The bird is brown and white with black rings at the base of the neck. The egss are dark brown with lots of black splotches. I'm wondering what kind of bird it is, how long it will take the eggs to hatch, and if there is anything I can do to create a barrier for the eggs (since they are in the play area) to protect them from young children. Thank you.

Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
Good afternoon, The nest you describe is a killdeer nest. The eggs will hatch after 24 to 26 days of incubation. I hesitate to recommend putting up a barrier because that will likely attract predators to the nest. The killdeer's nesting success depends on its being so well camouflaged among the rocks. Of course, getting accidentally stepped on isn't good for eggs either. Depending on how old the children are, you might consider putting up a small wire flag several feet away from the nest to remind the kids where the nest is located. Please let me know if you have more questions.

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