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Friday, September 30, 2011

#20: Killdeer - Sandy Creek Park, NC

I have a love/hate relationship with Killdeer. On one hand, it’s really cool to live in a place where you can find this relatively large Charadrius plover almost anywhere, from mudflats to lawns to asphalt parking lots and the roofs of building. And objectively, they look rather cool – demarcated black and white banding, a nice red eye-ring, and even a nice rufous rump when they fly off. On the other hand, Killdeer are one of the most annoying birds in the world.

See, I really love shorebirding. It’s definitely my favorite season of the year! Heading down to the mudflats to find out what the winds dragged in, scouring flocks and flocks of peeps to find an odd White-rumped or a Baird’s, and then just as you find a potential candidate, one wrong step and – kiDEEEEEE!!! All the birds are up in the air because Killdeer spook more easily than any other bird I’ve ever seen and for some reason shorebirds feel the need to take flight alongside them. And that interesting sandpiper? Nowhere to be found. All because of a stinkin’ Killdeer.

Killdeer - Sandy Creek Park, NC; 06/29/2010

Which begs the question, how did James get such a good picture of this Killdeer at Sandy Creek? Why should it be any different? Normally the birds there will bail just as easily as Killdeer do anywhere else, but over the summer, as the miniscule mudflats continued to spread across the small pond, the Killdeer decided to breed. The reason we were able to get so close to this particular individual came down to a little ball of fluff and down – a baby Killdeer.

Cute kid, but just wait til he grows up. Not so cute anymore, eh?

With the baby there, the adult Killdeer couldn't take the chance of fleeing and leaving the baby alone. The two constantly called back and forth to each other as we neared the pond edge, always staying close together. Never again have we gotten so close to a Killdeer, and unless we happen to find them in the presence of babies, I doubt we ever will.


  1. tsawyer2 from whatbird.comSeptember 30, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    LOL...Ain't that the truth about Killdeer and their skittishness. Great picture and nice blog you have going on here. I will check back often and post your blog link to my friends. It's funny you mentioned white-rumped sandpipers since I just added one to my life list earlier this month.

  2. @tsawyer2: Yep, can't stand those Killdeer... but it's hard not to like 'em when the babies are just so darned cute. Check out the updated pic!

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