Today, while spending time outside, I took some great pictures of this Killdeer protecting her eggs.
Killdeer remind me of two things; Spring and my Grandpa Frick
When I hear the Killdeer, I know Spring is on its way...
Every year, we have a pair of Killdeer make their nest in our drive. Our youngest daughter loves it. She gets out the bird book and looks them up, and tells everyone that they are her favorite bird.
Killdeer remind me of my Grandpa Frick. I remember him taking me to his field and showing me their nests. He could also make an exact replica of the killdeer sound.
So, here's some Killdeer facts...
Killdeer have brown upper parts, white underparts, and orange rumps. The eyes are dark with a bright red eye ring . In flight, the Killdeer's long, slender wings have conspicuous white wing stripes.
Killdeer live in open habitats such as fields, meadows, gravel bars, and mudflats.
Name "killdeer" refers to "kill-deer" calls which this species often produces. "Kill-deer" calls are especially frequent during the courtship. Killdeer was also known as "noisy plover" because of its loud, frequent shrills.
Killdeer can reach 8 to 11 inches in length and 2.6 to 4.5 ounces of weight.
Killdeer feed mainly on ground invertebrates such as earthworms, beetles, grasshoppers, and snails. They occasionally eat seeds and small vertebrates.
The Killdeer is our most common breeding shorebird.
Killdeer require a sandy or gravelly substrate for nesting near a wet or muddy area where they can forage.
Female Killdeer lay 4 to 6 eggs in the bare, shallow depression in the ground and then collects and accumulates pebbles, sticks, shells and various trash around the nest.
Both male and female participate in building the nest.
To guard against large hoofed animals like cows stepping on the eggs, the Killdeer fluffs itself up, displaying its tail over its head, and running at the beast to attempt to make it change its path.
Eggs hatch after 22 to 28 days. Chicks are covered with plumage and have one black bar on the breasts. They are able to walk and leave the nest shortly after hatching.
The Killdeer performs the broken-wing display to distract intruders away from nests and chicks.
Killdeer can survive around 10 years in the wild.
Killdeer are neither endangered nor threatened. However, they are protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Act.