~Friday’s Feathered Friend – Killdeer~

 

Friday’s Feathered Friend

 

Killdeer Showy wings and tail
Killdeer
Showy wings and tail

~

Killdeer added to my Birding Life List in April of 1986

(Loveland, CO)

~

Killdeer: 

`largest of the ringed plovers and the only double-banded plover

`probably the most familiar shorebird in North America

`in the summer it is found across (almost) the entire continent south of the tundra

`two black bands across chest

`red eye ring

`slim black bill

`bright rufous-orange rump and upper tail coverts

`white underparts

`long-pointed wings with long white stripe

`loud cry sounding like, kill-dee or kill-deear

`monogamous, solitary nester, often returns to same mate and breeding site

`nests on open ground

`juveniles are similar in appearance, but have only one black band across the chest

  • **information above taken from Smithsonian handbooks, Birds of North America**

 

On April 10th we arrived in Kerrville, Texas staying for three nights at the Buckhorn Lake Resort. Howard and I were out walking the doggies and we heard then spotted a pair of Killdeer. After a few minutes of watching them we discovered they had three babies. These little guys were running all over the place and their parents were going crazy trying to keep track of them. I read that the babies feed themselves, but the parents tend to them. They will fly at around 25 days old.

I was so disappointed I didn’t have my camera with me. I ran back to the coach, picked up my camera and ran back to take a few shots of the babies. Well, I don’t know where they went, but I never did spot them again.

However, I did capture one of the parents faking injury to lure me away from the babies. It was amazing to watch this display. I had only seen this performed once before by a Nighthawk.

I didn’t want to disturb the family too much so I stayed well back from them.

Under behavior in one of my bird books it states the following about this fake injury display and it is very actuate.

Leads intruders away from nest and young with “broken wing” act, rapid calls, one or both wings dragging, tail spread, and often limping or listing to one side.

Killdeer, pretending to be hurt to lure me away from their young
Killdeer, pretending to be hurt to lure me away from young

 

"Come after me, can't you see I have a broken wing!"
“Come after me, can’t you see I have a broken wing!”

 

Tail spread with left wing dragging
Tail spread with left wing dragging

 

Notice the beautiful red eye ring
Notice the beautiful red eye ring

 

They are so well camouflaged
They are so well camouflaged

~

Enjoy Birdwatching!

It can be entertaining as well as educational!

~

 

16 thoughts on “~Friday’s Feathered Friend – Killdeer~”

  1. I can’t remember my first killdeer…. and I can’t remember how many times we’ve “roped off” a killdeer nest that was in the middle of a road…. but your photos bring back happy memories of those times. Nice!

    1. Hi Sharon! It gave us a fright seeing where these baby Killdeer were. They were in a big open field, but it had a small path that the campground used to bring trash to their dumpsters. There were lots of trees, grass and other vegetation around, but a busy pathway indeed! I sure hope they survived! Appreciate and enjoy your comments.

    1. Thank you Michelle! It is amazing they survive. My brother was telling me about them nesting in the middle of a well worn path that cattle and horses use in his fields.

    1. Hi Gay, you might have seen one, but just didn’t know it. They are known to be all across America! If you haven’t seen this cute bird I hope you do. Thank you Gay!

  2. This was fascinating! When I read the words “Nests on open ground” I thought , ‘now how does that work?’ But now I see how the efforts of the parents to divert danger away from the kiddos can compensate. But many here still seem to find these birds in dangerous situations! I guess they’re good survivors. Great story and such interesting pictures!

  3. Sheila: Thanks for the story. Since I’m a neophyte (actually haven’t really even begun to learn) I love reading little ditties about birds’ activities and lifestyles. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Killdear; or maybe I have but didn’t know it.

    1. Mary-Pat, from what I have read about you, you aren’t neophyte. But, maybe that is your way of saying you will never give up learning! I admire you! Thanks for you lovely comment! I hope you are healing well.

  4. I love Killdeer – they are such interesting looking birds the way their colored feathers are designed. But I’ve only seen them walking along, I had no idea they were even more beautiful when their wings and tails were open. You’ve got some super photos here, thanks! 🙂

    1. Hi Barbara, yes they are lovely birds and such great parents! I learn something new everyday with this hobby called “Birding”. It seems and I am glad, you are becoming a “birder”. Your lovely experiences and photos prove my theory. Take care and keep posting bird photos!

  5. Wow, the things parents do to protect their babies. Wonderful story and great information. I don’t think I have ever seen a Kildeer. Shelia, on a recent visit to my parents in the Northwest, I thought of you when about 300 birds descended on their feeders in the front yard. I was so fascinated, I forgot to take a picture. 🙂

    1. WOW, I wonder what they were. It might have been what they call “fall out”. This happens when weather drives migrating birds to the ground. What a sight that must have been! Thank you for your comments!

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