Friday, March 16

Friday Bird Blogging: Killdeer

A couple days ago, I saw my first Killdeers of the season, a sure sign that Spring is around the corner-- these birds are a little larger than the common grackle and can be found in open fields and marshes. They will nest in areas with human populations, which makes them both more successful and more vulnerable than other plovers. They're probably most well-known for their broken wing trick. When a predator is near their nesting area, they will flop around as though they have a broken wing, trying to lure the predator away from their nest.

They also, however, do another trick with much larger creatures. From Cornell's bird guide:
The broken-wing act used to lead predators from the nest would not keep a cow or horse from stepping on the eggs. To guard against large hoofed animals, the Killdeer uses a quite different display, fluffing itself up, displaying its tail over its head, and running at the beast to attempt to make it change its path.
When you picture this, remember the size of the creature-- smaller than a pigeon-- running in full force at full-size horse, to try to change its course. That's what I call chutzpah.

1 comment:

Larry said...

Interesting bit about the Killdeer displaying to scare off larger animals.-I might try that display on someone one ofthese days.