Friends living on acreage have a masked-lapwing nesting behind their shed. Although I knew there was a nest on the ground, and I knew the approximate location of the nest, it was still difficult to spot the well-camouflaged eggs in the grass.

Masked-lapwing/plover nest, August 2012
With this nest not protected by foliage, it's important to not step on the eggs or run over them with the lawnmower.

Masked-lapwing/plover nest, August 2012
Although it's not hidden within a nest, the clutch of four eggs is marvellously coloured to blend in with the grass.

Masked-lapwing/plover, August 2012
The masked-lapwing/plover defends its territory against intruders by calling loudly, spreading its wings and then swooping fast and low.

Lauren wearing a garbage-bin lid, August 2012
When I first approached the nest, I protected my head against the swooping birds with the first "helmet" that I could find in the garage — a garbage-bin lid!

Masked-lapwing/plover, August 2012
The masked-lapwing/plover pretends it can't fly in an attempt to lure potential predators away from its nest.

Lauren with her three older daughters, August 2012
When the swooping bird flies off, I invite our girls to come with me to examine the nest.

I love these encounters with wildlife in their natural habitats with our girls. When we are aware of the creatures that co-habit within our environments, we become more thoughtful about the chemicals we use, the way we cut our grass, the domestic animals we keep and the effects our lifestyle has on the greater world.