Killdeer Calling in Flight at Night

Springtime Killdeer on Antelope IslandSpringtime Killdeer on Antelope Island – Nikon D300, f10, 1/800, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light (2012)

Killdeer can be found in northern Utah all year long and it isn’t unusual to see flocks of them during the winter but I suppose that some do head to warmer climates when it gets really cold and then migrate back here in the spring.  I’ve seen more Killdeer lately than I have all winter and some of those birds may be heading to their breeding grounds that are even further north than I am.

A few nights ago I opened the door to check out the cloud cover and weather conditions before going to bed and for the first time since I moved to Utah I heard a flock of calling Killdeer flying past in the pitch black night. I couldn’t help but laugh because it seemed so odd to hear them calling out in the dark. To my ears there seemed to be quite a few of the birds flying past.

Listen to a Killdeer calling inflight here.

I did some checking and found that they do migrate during the night as well as during day so perhaps the birds I heard were winging their way north and were attracted by our city lights. I enjoyed hearing the Killdeer flying past after dark even though I couldn’t see or photograph them.

Life is good.


A few facts about Killdeer:

  • Killdeer are brown and tan above, white below and they have two dark chest bands, large heads, big eyes and short, stout bills.
  • Killdeer adults will act like their wings are broken to lead predators away from their nest and young.
  • Killdeer are migratory in the north and year round residents in the south.  Killdeer prefer drier habitats than most other shorebirds. Killdeer inhabit mudflats, sandbars, grazed fields, they are also found in towns in parking lots, golf courses, airports, driveways, lawns and sports fields.
  • Killdeer eat invertebrates including worms, snails, grasshoppers, beetles, small fish and aquatic insect larvae.
  • Killdeer lay 3 to 5 eggs which take 24 to 28 days to hatch. Both sexes incubate. They are monogamous.
  • A group of killdeers is called a “season” of killdeers.
  • Killdeer can live up to 10 years.


  1. Pepe Forte March 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Love the pic; especially the vivid eye of the killdeer. Great info too. I can’t begin to tell you how much I learn from your posts. Thanks Mia.

  2. Elephants Child March 19, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    What a deliightful lullaby to hear…

  3. Laura Culley March 19, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Don’t you just love serendipity? If you’d dawdled a few minutes or exercised your diligence just a few minutes earlier, you’d have missed the glorious sounds (and knowledge) of killdeer behavior. Thank you for checking the skies!

  4. Carroll Tarvin March 19, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I enjoyed hearing killdeer but not nearly as much as my Norwegian Elkhound did. We both thank you for that experience.

  5. cindy March 19, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Ah, but you could hear them. Just a night time lullaby Mia. 🙂

  6. Patty Chadwick March 19, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Interesting information…GORGEOUS bird!!!

  7. Grace Dunklee Cohen March 19, 2018 at 7:25 am

    Thanks for this interesting information on Kildeers, Mia. I learn so much about birds and photographing wildlife by reading your blog. Thank you for doing what I wish I could – being,observing and shooting in the field (nearly) every day, and sharing your experiences so accurately and candidly.

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