I heard her before I saw her.
The telltale "yip, yip, yip, yip, yip, yip, yip" I have heard many, many times.
Up the road from where I was walking last night, I saw her -- long twiggy legs carrying her swiftly away from the shoulder of the road across to the other side. Once there, she sat down on in the gravel, fanned her tail, stuck her right wing out at an awkward angle and began to shake. As I approached, she got up, ran about 20 feet up the road and repeated her broken wing act.
The "her," in this case, is a bird called a Kildeer. Kildeer are known for protecting their nests (which they build on the ground in grass or gravel) by distracting a predator with a high pitched yip and pretending to be injured. Their goal in this act is to draw a predator away from the nest, thinking the adult bird is an easy target instead.
I had no intention of harming the nest, yet the momma bird insisted in yipping at me until I moved way past them and up the hill.
When my daughter was younger, she rightfully called this bird the Squawky Momma Bird. The sound the Kildeer makes is rather obnoxious and persistent. The name has stuck after all these years.
She is one determined momma. Very protective. Very smart. Very clever.
But then again, most of the moms I know are.