They moved the chicks to the school grounds across the road not long after hatching. During term, I often heard the teachers asking kids not to go near the plovers, which made me smile. I loved hearing adults educating kids and protecting wildlife.
Then in the holidays, one morning there was a huge kerfuffle with the plover adults. Screeching awfully. I went out to investigate. There were kids with sticks, and I heard one say, "I just want to see the chicks." Maybe they only wanted to look, but these kids were brandishing the sticks like weapons and it wasn't only the plover parents who were worried.
I turned into a shrew, and yelled at the kids. I just told them to go play somewhere else and leave the birds alone. Nothing happened. So I went closer and yelled more.
I was one side of the plovers, the kids on the other side. I was sure the plovers were going to start attacking me, but I held my nerve and stood my ground and waited for the stick wielding kids to go.
I tweeted and got so much support from people, which calmed me down. I was feeling a bit crazy for yelling at kids...but these plovers are so much part of my annual cycle I didn't want to see the babies hurt.
The kids came back, and I went out and watched. They soon left.
Later that afternoon, another screech from a plover had me going out again, but this time a parent was in my birdbath and splashing happily. I'd never seen them do that before - they usually use puddles beside the road. So I took it that they were thanking me for my help :)
I'm so glad the plovers no longer swoop me and see me as non-threatening. It makes me even more protective of them.
Do you have plovers near you? Do they swoop? How about magpies?