Bird of the Week: Killdeer

For many landlocked birders, the Killdeer is the only shorebird they are likely to see at home. Their name comes from the loud and insistent cry they give when startled, which formerly earned them the names “chattering plover” and “noisy plover.” These small, active plovers are built for wading but are true habitat generalists, and can be found almost anywhere they can find food and nest sites, including parks, sports fields, and golf courses. Like many birds of open ground, Killdeer are ground nesters, making their young particularly vulnerable to predators and even unintentional crushing by careless livestock or humans. In order to protect their chicks, Killdeer will perform elaborate displays to confuse, deceive, or intimidate anything that might threaten them– a common tactic is to feign injury such as a broken wing in order to draw a predator away from the nest site.

Celebrate shorebirds with Travis Audubon on Worldwide Shorebirds Day– learn more here.
Compiled by Owen Moorhead. Sources include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.
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