Kill-dee, kill-dee, kill-dee sounded across the gravel parking lot as Trudi the dog and I arrived for a walk along the river (see this post about Trudi). Kill-dee is the oft-repeated call of the inland shorebird found in North America from coast to coast that we call the killdeer – any guesses about where that name came from – and that also bears the scientific name of Charadrius vociferous. And vociferous they are, giving their call whenever they’re disturbed and for many other reasons that we may not understand.
In this case two killdeer ran about in the lot calling loudly, at this time of year a pretty good sign there was a nest nearby. A walk around the periphery of the parking lot was all it took to discover the nest with its four speckled eggs –
We took our walk, returning after about an hour to find a killdeer incubating the eggs –
As soon as we came near the bird proceeded to go into its “broken wing act” in an attempt draw us away from the nest –
We quickly moved away from the nest to let the bird resume incubating the eggs on this cool and windy day. As she returned to the nest several crows passed over, which caused her to look up –
Then she settled down on her eggs once again –
Killdeer historically nested on streamside gravel bars and have readily adopted gravel parking lots, railroad grades, gravel-covered flat rooftops and similar sites. The eggs are incubated for three and a half to four weeks before they hatch. The hatchlings are precocial and leave the nest almost immediately although the parents watch over them for about a month until the young ones can fly.