Mating Killdeer at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

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Mating Killdeer, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Box Elder County, UtahMating Killdeer – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Last week when I took my Mom to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge we were fortunate to see and photograph Killdeer mating while on the auto tour route. Mom had never seen them mate before and I was able to warn her beforehand that they were going to because the male displayed some courtship behavior prior to mounting the female. I fired something like 133 shots while they were mating but in most of those images one or both of the plovers had their heads turned away from the camera so those images will end up in my delete bin when I have time to cull them.

Listen to the sounds of a distraction display and flight call of Killdeer here.

Killdeer can have up to three broods per year but many times the second and third clutch of eggs are laid because the first clutch fails.

Life is good.


Some Killdeer facts:

  • 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 resident 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. Ian Holland May 23, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Great photos, as usual, but remember this is a family blog:)

    • Mia McPherson May 24, 2018 at 5:17 am

      Ian, by the time you commented I really needed a laugh yesterday, thank you. See today’s post as to why.

  2. Pepe Forte May 23, 2018 at 11:38 am

    Great shots and narrative. Love the killdeers eyes. Thanks Mia.

  3. Patty Chadwick May 23, 2018 at 7:12 am

    I always enjoy your facts almost as much as your beautiful images….

  4. Bob mcpherson May 23, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Ccol photos Mia

  5. Laura May 23, 2018 at 5:48 am

    Amazing photo! Thank you for adding the facts about killdeer too.

Comments are closed.