April 22, 2015 – Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
Requested by: quoth-the-rook
Named for their frequent “kill-deer” call, these plovers are found throughout most of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean, and into parts of northern South America. Although they are shorebirds, they are often found far from water in a variety of open habitats, including those associated with humans, like parking lots, golf courses, and lawns. They eat invertebrates and sometimes seeds from agricultural areas. Nesting in a small scrape, usually made in gravel, Killdeers perform a broken-wing display to distract predators from their nests and chicks. Once the predator has been lured far enough away, the bird quickly flies off.
When I was a kid, I found a Killdeer and three chicks in a parking lot near my dad’s work. The chicks were stranded in the road because they were just barely too short to make it over the curb and into the vacant lot, where their parent was calling them. I very carefully caught each tiny, fluffy, chick and placed it over the curb, then watched them all run off together.