Killdeer Family – a day at the beach


The beach in question being a mud-hole.  But that doesn’t matter to these young Killdeer, only a few days old.  We had driven up to one of our favorite birding spots, when I noticed some baby Killdeer walking around the water.  I pulled the car up behind a mesquite tree, but in position so I could shoot photos from the driver’s side window.

Killdeer chick

Killdeer chick

There were four of the little ones, all walking along the side of the mud-hole.

Killdeer chick

Killdeer chick

The adult mother was a few feet away in hovering mode.

adult Killdeer

adult Killdeer

Off to our right, was the adult father, doing the broken wing act to draw us away from the children.

Adult Killdeer faking a broken wing, to draw us away from the chicks.

Adult Killdeer faking a broken wing, to draw us away from the chicks.

Nearby, a Greater Roadrunner was making plans of his own.  He makes a run at the chicks, trying for a quickie lunch, but the two adult Killdeer give him a merry chase and sent him on his way.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

The mother is still wary and she draws her children close to give them protection.

Adult Killdeer with her children.

Adult Killdeer with her children.

Soon all four chicks are completely covered by the adult.

Adult Killdeer protecting her children.

Adult Killdeer protecting her children.

Soon after, the adults sensing that the danger no longer existed, released the children and they went back to play.  I and Ann were thrilled to watch this display of family love and togetherness.

We were reminded of some dear friends in Houston that have a similar family.  There are four children there, too, and the parents are completely devoted to protecting and loving them.  The only difference is, that the father may not fake the broken wing.  But I am sure he would do whatever it takes.

I hope you enjoyed this post and photos. Click on any of them to see some enlargements.

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30 thoughts on “Killdeer Family – a day at the beach

  1. Loved this post Bob, the killdeer chicks are absolutely adorable, you captured some beautiful endearing photos. I’ve recently spotted a couple killdeer families alongside the road and around the marshy areas close to me, I need to go back to get some shots before their chicks grow up!

  2. Superb, Bob! So glad you were there to witness this and get such great pictures. I had no idea Roadrunners were predators, I’ll have to learn more about them. In particular I love the shot of all the kids tucked under the hen, that is priceless.

  3. What an awesome set of shots! I have never seen baby killdeer before, what a treat! They are adorable. Love how you were able to record the entire encounter and how the momma gathered her chicks under her for protection!

  4. Your commentary is so apt for these photos..good lesson for all…love the family..the photos are fabulous and the babies are too cute to describe. You and Ann were certainly blessed to watch these birds..Roadrunners are real oportunists…Thanks so much for sharing..

  5. Those killdeer chicks are so cute! And what big feet they have! So glad you and Ann got to see this family experience. Usually I would cheer for the roadrunner, but in this case I think I would have been out of the car giving chase with the parents! Thanks for a great post with your usual wonderful photos! Yes, you do lead a charmed life when it comes to the birds. hugs

  6. Great story, great photos. I had never seen a killdeer do the “broken wing thing” before. Are you going to get rain today? The weather map this morning looked like you might…

  7. Thanks for sharing this experience with us Bob. Your stills and commentary are better than any video.

  8. You get all the luck with the juvie’s! Super cute little guys. Those roadrunners are the brutes of the bird world. They are ruthless and lethal to chicks. Good thing the parents were fully on guard.

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