Killdeer, BraeBurn No. 6, December 11, 2017
I have only seen this long-legged bird four times in my twenty-nine months at BraeBurn and I’m not sure why.  This is a common bird that ranges from Canada to Mexico and south.  It is a Killdeer, a type of long-legged plover that looks and acts like a shorebird but is actually an inland bird that you might see in an open field or even on a baseball field. 
 
This is a bird that is named for its call, like a Whip-poor-will or a Bobwhite.  It sings a high-pitched “kill-deer” or “kill-dee” as it flies.  I’m sure you have heard it.
 
A Killdeer spends a lot of time on the ground running and hunting for insects and, in fact, it builds its nests on the ground and will go through an elaborate distraction dance to draw predators away.  I have seen perfectly camouflaged Killdeer nests both on the shoulder of a gravel road and within a few feet of a busy area on a golf course where hundreds of people and golf carts pass by daily.  I have also seen cute, newly-hatched chicks that can’t fly but can only run around under the watchful protection of their parents who will use those distraction tactics to ward off predators – and humans trying to take photos.