Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)


Sometimes I find it hard to decide which bird to write about, when I haven’t been in the field for a few days.  Such was the case today, since I haven’t been outside because of my eye surgery.  Which, by the way, is finished and my eyesight is beyond excellent.  Can’t wait to get back out tomorrow.

So, anyway, to pick a subject I threw my Stokes bird guide on the floor and it opened up to the Killdeer page.  Just kidding.  I respect my bird guides too much to toss them around carelessly.  But I did just go through my bird photo collections and randomly picked this bird out.

Killdeer

  • Canon 7D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens
  • 1/640 sec. @ f9
  • ISO 640
  • Lens focal distance 400mm
  • Metering: partial
  • Aperture priority

Killdeer on nest

  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens
  • 1/2500 sec. @ f6.3
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance  375mm
  • Metering:  partial
  • Aperture priority

The Killdeer is a tricky little bird, as it can try to lure you away from it’s nest, by pretending to be have a crippled wing.  It will do a controlled flopping in a direction away from the eggs.  Those eggs are usually in plain sight, among some pebbles in open ground, roof top, or driveway, but carefully camoflaged to make them hard to spot.

Killdeer eggs

  •  Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens
  • 1/500 sec. @ f9
  • ISo 400
  • Lens focal distance  360mm
  • Metering:  center weighted average
  • Aperture priority

As you can see, the new-born chicks are fuzzy, long-legged, big-eyed and tiny.

Killdeer chick

  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens with 1.4 tele-converter – hand-held
  • 1/1000 sec. @ f7.1
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance  700mm
  • Metering:  center weighted average
  • Aperture priority

The Killdeer is a resident of Texas year round.    I hope you enjoy the photos and the narrative.  Click on any image to see an enlargement.

Reminder:  You can still vote until August 14 for my photos in the National Wildlife Magazine photo contest.  Just click here: People’s Choice

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12 thoughts on “Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

  1. A wonderful series of a bird I actually know, one for which the mnemonic name makes it the most easy to recognize, along with it’s distinctive banding. I’ve never seen the eggs or a chick, though, so this post is particularly educational as well. Thanks!

  2. Love the baby chick..this morning I got up early to open the house up to catch the cool air and found a pair of baby raccoons asleep on our back deck right up against the door. Needless to say I grab the camera and had fun taking photos..not to sure where Mom and Dad were. Take care…baby wildlife is so unique…

  3. I tried to vote for your photos while I was out of town but for some reason I couldn’t get logged on. Just tried from “home computer” and am able to again. I noticed that it looks like voting is open until August 14th. Good luck 🙂

    • You are right. July 14th is the closing date to enter the contest, but voting is still open until August 14. Thanks, Shelly, for bringing my error to my attention. I will make that edit, and thanks for the vote.

  4. the chick is SO cute!! makes me want to scoop it up and snuggle it. I am curious … how do the parents protect the chicks from predators if they do not have an elevated nest for the babies? I suppose that geese and ducks do it just fine, but it seems like they select more protected nesting sites than this little gem.

    • Thanks, Shelly. And thanks for taking time from your honeymoon to write. 🙂

      Actually, there is no other protection for those chicks, and they do lose a lot to predators. There other birds that do the same, nighthawks, and snowy sandpipers, to name a couple. They just lay their eggs on bare ground.

      • We are actually postponing our honeymoon for a little while, so I’m just writing from home … interesting information – thanks for sharing about the other birds, too.

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