Killdeer, give them a BRAKE!
Saved another one…Please slow down on highway 82, it is migration season and theses Birds don’t have a chance against trucks headed for the gas plants doing 85 MPH! The speed limit is 55MPH! GIVE THEM A BRAKE!
The oldest recorded Killdeer was at least 10 years, 11 months old when it was recaptured and re-released during banding operations in Kansas.
A shorebird you can see without going to the beach, Killdeer are graceful plovers common to lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, and parking lots. These tawny birds run across the ground in spurts, stopping with a jolt every so often to check their progress, or to see if they’ve startled up any insect prey. Their voice, a far-carrying, excited kill-deer, is a common sound even after dark, often given in flight as the bird circles overhead on slender wings.
Doesn’t visit feeders, but if your backyard or neighborhood contains expansive, cultivated lawns or grazed fields then you could find Killdeer foraging on your property.
Killdeer get their name from the shrill, wailing kill-deer call they give so often. Eighteenth-century naturalists also noticed how noisy Killdeer are, giving them names such as the Chattering Plover and the Noisy Plover.
Killdeer are surprisingly unobtrusive even on green lawns, despite their warm tawny coloration. Look carefully over lawns,fields, and even parking lots, and listen for the far-carrying kill-deer. (When you hear this call, the bird may be in flight. Look for it circling you, flying stiffly on long, pointed wings. It may resemble an American Kestrel, at least until it lands on the ground and begins walking.) Though they’re often found on dry land, you should also look for them on the edges of freshwater ponds and muddy lagoons.
A well-known denizen of dry habitats, the Killdeer is actually a proficient swimmer. Adults swim well in swift-flowing water, and chicks can swim across small streams.
The male and female of a mated pair pick out a nesting site through a ritual known as a scrape ceremony. The male lowers his breast to the ground and scrapes a shallow depression with his feet. The female then approaches, head lowered, and takes his place. The male then stands with body tilted slightly forward, tail raised and spread, calling rapidly. Mating often follows.