Killdeer don’t Kill Deer I think it has been established that I have a thing for birds. Of all kinds, shapes, sizes and temperaments. I’m crazy about them and have been known to nearly drive off the road watching them.
The other morning I came out to my car to find a duck waddling about the parking lot of my workplace. A cute brown duck that had no business being in the parking lot, yet there he was. This morning I pulled into the same parking lot to find a pair of killdeers wandering about the rock gardens that front the building. Killdeers! I hadn’t seen a killdeer since the last time I was in the canyon camping. A long time indeed.
Killdeers are very cool indeed if you haven’t run across them before. Not only are they quite distinctive looking with beautiful markings but they have these very long legs and tend to run about as often as flying from spot to spot. Their name apparently comes from the other very cool thing about them, namely their particular cry, which does indeed sound like “kill-deer, kill-deer” in a very high range. Which is a good thing since I’m also very fond of deer…
They also have another cool thing that I did not know about until I went looking.” These birds will frequently use a distraction display (“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. This is repeated until the predator is far from the nest, and the killdeer suddenly “heals” and flies away. And good parents too. I knew there was a reason I love killdeer.