My home office looks out onto our front yard which we sometimes use for cow grazing. A few weeks ago the cows spent a day there in a fairly small area of very long grass. This is what it looked like afterwards.
If you look closely, you can see a relatively green patch right in the centre of the photo. Its longer grass because the cows didn't eat it. Neither did any of them stand there. I know that because when I went to investigate it turned out to be a pukeko nest with 4 eggs, all intact.
How did this happen? Every other part of the available area had been chewed down and walked over. I'd noticed the mother bird flapping around among the cows, so for a fair bit of the day (perhaps all of it) she had been scared away from the nest. And there are some nice tasty looking plants around those eggs.
We have two theories. Maybe the pukekos pissed around the nest and that deterred the cows. But why didn't they stand on it? Possibly just luck I suppose. The only other explanation we could think of is that somehow the cows recognised it as a nest and deliberately avoided it, which sounds too weird to be true.
Anyway, the even better news is that the eggs didn't die while the mother was off the nest. Two have hatched and I managed to get a snap of the younger one this morning.