Killdeer Tactics

By Sue Ann Kendall

For the past few weeks, the killdeer at my ranch have been in a breeding frenzy. I have even spotted tiny new birdies down by my front pond.

Killdeer have a few interesting habits. When they create a nest, it consists of nothing more than a small depression on the ground, with eggs in it. While the eggs do a great job of blending in with whatever surface they’re laid on, they are just sitting there, exposed.

Killdeer sitting on eggs. Photo by Eric Schmidt, from iNaturalist.

The parents are vigilant about protecting their nests, though. They don’t want a hawk or snake to find them, and they’d prefer the livestock not stomp on the eggs, either.

Ignore the center of the driveway! Nothing there!

They spend much of their time while eggs are incubating making loud sounds and flashing their wings, pretending to be injured to attract predators away from the eggs. I can assure you it’s loud.

My serene butterfly and wildflower observation time has recently been accompanied by many killdeer trying to get me to go away from wherever I am (oh, and dickcissels are also bellowing, too). Those parents have got to get tired, because at least one pair led me all the way down the driveway and partway down the road.

Follow us! We are more interesting than our eggs!

I do wish they were a little more careful about selecting nest locations. So far, I’ve seen two on the pond shore get washed away in recent rains. The current one I’m watching won’t wash away, but I have to warn my family to stay on the driveway and not cross into the middle, because that’s where these two eggs are!

Aren’t they an interesting shape?

I hope they make it!

2 thoughts on “Killdeer Tactics”

  1. This was a great blog, really enjoyed it. Such hard working sweet little birds. I’ve never seen one. Thanks for all the info.

    Liked by 1 person

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