Shorebirds: Killdeer

Photo of Killdeer

Closely related to beach-going Piping Plovers, Killdeer are more likely encountered away the coast, on large lawns, plowed farms, and parking lots.  They can be located by listening for their loud kill-deer calls, which can be given day or night. Killdeer have two bold chest bands (Semi-palmated Plovers are smaller and have a single chest band), and an orange rump which is noticeable in flight.

Nesting birds are noted for the showy distraction tactics that they employ to lead perceived predators from their open ground nest sites.  After eggs hatch, the parental job of protection is not over.  Chicks too young to fly may seek shelter under a parent's wing, as the young Killdeer below is doing.  Last June, I came upon this family, who I photographed briefly before backing away and giving the birds room to relax.

Photo of Killdeer with immature

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