This post is for World Bird Wednesday.
Masked Lapwings (Vanellus miles) are very common around here. There are numbers of them living on the empty house blocks. I have also seen them around the bay in among the shorebirds. They prefer places where the grass is not too tall and make a nest by simply finding a grass clump and sitting down on it.
They used to be called Spur-winged Plovers because of the bony spur on their wings. They are most aggressive birds and swoop down on predators and use the spur on their wings to drive them off. Unfortunately, when they have a nest or young ones they see anything that moves close to them as a threat and dive in to attack. It is impossible to walk safely along the road if a pair of them are nesting close by.
Because they are so aggressive I let my dog chase them out of my yard. However, they know that the dog is safely tied up at night so a pair of them flies in just as it is getting dark and stays for the night. The empty house blocks are open to roaming cats and dogs at night and they obviously prefer the safety of my yard.