Killdeer

1/2000s at f8.0, ISO:800, Canon EOS-1D X, w/800mm x 1.4 Converter


Their breeding habitat is open fields or lawns, often quite far from water, across most of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. 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, or line it only with a few stones. Since there is no structure to stand out from its surroundings, a killdeer nest blends marvelously into the background. Furthermore, the speckled eggs themselves look like stones. Killdeer hatchlings are precocial birds like many other waders. Killdeer hatch able to see and run around following their parents looking for food after they are born. Most birds are born altricial and utterly rely on their parents to bring them food. Precocial birds stay in the egg twice as long as altricial birds, so they have more time to develop. A one-day-old killdeer chick is actually two weeks more developed than a one-day-old American robin nestling. Although adult robins and killdeer are the same size, a killdeer's egg is twice the size of a robin's. There is more nourishment in the killdeer egg, to sustain the embryo for its longer time in the shell. They are migratory in northern areas and winter as far south as northern South America. These birds forage for food in fields, mudflats, and shores, usually by sight. They mainly eat insects. Their name comes from their frequently heard call. These birds will frequently use the broken-wing act to distract predators from their nests. This involves the bird walking away from its nesting area holding its wing in a position that simulates an injury and then flapping around on the ground emitting a distress call. The predators then think they have easy prey and are attracted to this seemingly injured bird and away from the nest. If the parent sees that a potential predator is not following them, they will move closer and get louder until they get the attention of the predator.
Fulton Ranch, Chandler, AZ
 
03/27/2016