Saturday, May 15, 2010

Killdeer: Act 1, Scene 1...

Today, my son and I took a shortcut through our local cemetery, enroute to the Elementary School playground. As we walked past a small cleared dirt lot, I noticed something scurrying in and out of the small patches of grass and buttercups. It was a Killdeer...

"Oh please. Tell me they're not stopping..."

"Gahh....they are! They're stopping!"

"Hmm, they're getting a little too close..and that lady looks crah-zee..."

"Time for me to distract them away from my nest..."

"Ow ow wing! My wing! Ow...."

"I seemed to have tripped over one of these....umm....blades of grass. Yeah, that's the ticket..."

"Ow ow......"

"Hmm, they buying this?..."

Suddenly, she got up and scurried over to the paved pathway. We followed.

"Hey, Pssst...over here! The playground is THIS way, people!"

Killdeer nest on open ground, often on gravel. They may use a slight depression in the gravel to hold the eggs, but they do not line it at all. Since there is no structure to stand out from its surroundings, a Killdeer nest blends marvelously into the background. The speckled eggs themselves look like stones.

The "Broken Wing Act" is done in an effort to lead predators away from the nest.


  1. I am really jealous! I have yet to see a Killdeer!

  2. Great reportage with great catches !

  3. Nice pictures Kim and that's quite a parent holding off the humans :)


  4. I love this post! Spectacular series of photos. Wonderful!

  5. I should note that we never walked on the dirt lot, for fear of stepping on the 'rock-like' eggs. We couldn't be sure exactly where the eggs were and kept to the parimeter, instead.

    Thank you so much for your comments :)

  6. Nice broken wing act captures! I remember the first time I saw killdeer do this, coincidentally my sister and I had read about it just before our outing. The broken wing act had the opposite affect on us at first though, actually drew us closer to sneak a peek at the nest. Then we of course respectfully backed off to give them peace of mind. Killdeer beautiful and unique, I really enjoyed this post Kim. It brought back a fond memory I have of my sister and I birding together.

  7. I love these little birds, but they don't let me get close enough to get a good picture of them. I need to save some money for a better lens. But, I can draw them, at least.

  8. I'm adding your blog to my blog roll on my blog: Killdeers, Phoebes and Finches

  9. That's a great series of story pics.

    What a delightful little bird the Killdeer is, I have not seen them before, we don't get them over here.

  10. Nice series of images. Please consider supporting us by adding this nesting record to our breeding shorebirds database. Would great to see it there.
    Find our website:

    Thanks, Szimi