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Bird of the Month: Killdeer

Published on 3/11/2015
By Gary Luhm

A bird of mudflat and shore in winter, and parking lots and open fields in summer, the Killdeer is our most common plover, a type of shorebird with short bills and big eyes. The brownish-colored Killdeer has longish wings, sports two black breast bands and shows a long white wing stripe and orange rump in flight. Conspicuous, red-outlined eyes see nearly 360°. In flight, you’ll hear a loud Kee-kee-ke, Kee-kee-kee, or Ee, Ee as the bird flies off, often circling.

One year I found a Killdeer nest aside an active train track. The parents did the plover broken-wing display to draw me away. The hard-to-find nest contained four camouflaged eggs sitting amongst the gravel at railside.

River mouths are a good place to see Killdeer in winter. Is summer, you may find them in the parking lot at the put-in. The Killdeer’s conservation status is Least Concern.

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