Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) is a shorebird who, like many Californians, has found the sunny habitats of Colorado permanently appealing.

The first time I saw a Killdeer in Colorado I almost ran home to check my meds. Having grown up on the beach I knew where these birds belonged and it was not in a gravel field in the middle of State in the middle of the country. Alas, since that psychologically rending day, I have learned that shore birds, and the Killdeer in particular, are quite common in Colorado.

The Killdeer is a common plover that is immediately identifiable by the 3 black neck rings around its neck. While typically a shore bird, it can live far from water. This specimen was in large field of our local dog park. I caught it on film by accident. Even with a 500 mm lens, this bird was so far away and so skittish that I never got very close. That is why these photos are so grainy.

The hot gravel of the dog park where I saw this specimen would seem very uninviting, but this Killdeer obviously found it a great place for a nest.

The Killdeer is famous for its broken wing act, which they put on when anyone gets too close to their nest. By the time I was within 50 yards of this specimen it started flexing its wings, but never went into the full act before simply flying away.

Showing off or fanning its underside to beat the heat. I guess we will never know.

1 comment:

KT said...

What beautiful photos...

I have to laugh. A project I am working on is in Kildeer, Illinois. I have always thought it was a weird name for a town. Now, at least I will always think of this beautiful bird!