Clever killdeer outsmart the predator

  • Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Killdeer protecting her young with a little help from some concerned citizens! PHOTOS BY MICHAELE DUKE


Moms will do whatever it takes to protect their babies. Case in point: A female Killdeer feigned a broken wing in order to throw off a potential threat - the photographer- that got a little too close to her nest. She was safe but it took some quick thinking on the part of a concerned citizen.

Kingstree Mayor Ricky Burrows spotted the bird that was sitting on a nest she built in the middle of a parking lot. A scattering of sticks lay in a small depression in the loose gravel.

Three olive green eggs speckled with black dots blended perfectly with the surrounding stones.

However, because of its location, the real threat to her babies was traffic therefore Mayor Burrows positioned a safety cone and other highway material around the nearly invisible nest.

Killdeer are known for nesting in the most awkward of places. Several years ago, a Killdeer laid a clutch of eggs near a ball field at the Kingstree Parks and Recreation Center. The nest was situated where cars parked so citizens came to the rescue and placed barriers around it for safety.

They also have a instinctive ability to fake an intruder away from the nest or chicks. When threatened a Killdeer will suddenly drop to the ground, begin to flutter about and drag a wing. The award-winning performance keeps the attention of the potential predator thereby drawn it away from her helpless brood.

As the photographer turned to leave the site, the female quickly recovered from her wounded state and charged toward her opponent: A courageous demonstration that she meant business.


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