Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Killdeer, have a strange name.  The little birds have nothing to do with deer, or killing except for there food which is mainly insects and crustaceans.  The name comes from their call which sounds something like kill-deer, kill-deer; kind of disturbing I suppose if came out of a sinister looking bird, but the killdeer is anything but sinister looking.

Killdeer

Killdeer pauses by its nest to size up a would-be predator, me.

The killdeer is a bird of fields, and large lawns, where they lay their well camouflaged eggs in a simple nest.  Killdeer are famous for their display of injury when a predator or a human comes near the nest.  The incubating bird pretends to have a broken wing while making a dash from the nest and stopping.  A wounded animal is sure sign of an easy meal for a ground  predator like foxes and coyotes.  The predator’s attention is immediately drawn to the adult which keeps ahead of the predator, and flies away unscathed, if it gets too close.  My father once initiated such a display.  The dutiful parent distracted my dad from its chicks, but unfortunately for the distracted bird it did not notice the owl swoop down and until it was too late.

Killdeer Eggs and Nest

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) nest with speckled eggs that blend in very well with surrounding gravel.

Although this shorebird spends much of its summer in the fields raising young it returns to beaches and other shorelines after the young fledge and during spring and fall migrations.

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