Springtime 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.
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.