Birds crash Grand Rapids Catholic Central tennis practices

Birds crash Grand Rapids Catholic Central tennis practices

Practice and protect is what the Catholic Central’s girls tennis was all about this week.

The state-bound Cougars are playing in Friday and Saturday’s Division 3 finals at Novi High School., and they kept busy preparing this week. But a pair of killdeer birds didn’t make it easy.

The birds moved into the Catholic Central Athletic Complex, 2770 Knapp Street NE, and they made themselves at home. They built a nest adjacent to the doubles courts, and it blends nicely into the environment since it is made of gravel and pebbles.

Catholic Central tennis coach Pat Williams spotted it though, along with the four speckled eggs inside it. Williams is in her 46th year of coaching the Cougars, and she has never encountered anything quite like this.

Killdeer eggs blend into a nest near the tennis courts at the Catholic Central Athletic Complex, 2770 Knapp Street NE. (Photo courtesy of Pat Williams)

Pat Williams

Killdeer eggs blend into a nest near the tennis courts at the Catholic Central Athletic Complex, 2770 Knapp Street NE. (Photo courtesy of Pat Williams)

“I think it was last week Thursday when I first saw it, and there were two eggs,” Williams said. “At that time, some neighbors were here and were going to play as we were leaving. I asked them to play on the front court. When we came back after the holiday on Tuesday, there were four eggs.”

The killdeer are members of the plover family, nearly 11 inches in length and tricky. Try approaching the nest, and they will fake a broken wing, let loose a high-pitch squawk and stumble in another direction, hoping to lure away predators.

Grand Rapids Catholic Central tennis coach Pat Williams placed a domed food cover over the nest to protect it from balls during Tuesday's scrimmage against Grant at the Catholic Central Athletic Complex, 2770 Knapp Street NE. (Photo courtesy of Pat Williams)

Pat Williams

Grand Rapids Catholic Central tennis coach Pat Williams placed a domed food cover over the nest to protect it from balls during Tuesday’s scrimmage against Grant at the Catholic Central Athletic Complex, 2770 Knapp Street NE. (Photo courtesy of Pat Williams)

No act was going to lure a stray tennis ball away, though, so Williams came up with a plan to protect the eggs. The Cougars invited Grant to participate in a scrimmage Tuesday since the Tigers have qualified for state in Division 4, and Williams brought a domed food cover to place over the nest for protection.

“The birds zoomed around and made a lot of noise during the match. They weren’t happy,” Williams said. “We showed Grant, and they were very interested in helping us protect the nest. We were trying to play and protect, and it worked out. No balls hit the nest and the birds came back and took care of them.”

The Cougars left Thursday night to compete in this weekend’s finals, pleased that the eggs are safe.

“I am always up for protecting animals,” Williams said. “I guess we should name them and their parents. I guess we will have to talk about it.”

Published at Fri, 31 May 2019 14:49:01 +0000