Nests & Eggs: Killdeer

Charadrius vociferus

Named for their call, these plovers fake a broken wing to distract predators from their young.

The killdeer is the common plover which we see in pastures, meadows, fields or on shores of ponds and lakes. Freshly mown alfalfa fields, short grass or stubble, even newly plowed fields attract them. They gather in loose flocks to feed on exposed insects or worms. Their usual pace consists of a short run, a quick stop to check for some juicy morsel, then another short run. All stops are accompanied by a jerky movement as if undecided whether to spring into the air or stay on the ground. Even the spindly legged young have this bobbing habit.

This bird is only a little bigger than the Robin, but longer legs and tail make him appear larger. White collar with 2 black bands across the lower neck and upper breast, chestnut back and tail, white lines in the wings in flight, all make this plover easily identified. If there is any doubt you will soon hear his “kill-dee,” or “kill-deer” notes, for he is a noisy bird, quick to resent any intrusion in his territory. These calls alert other birds, much to the disgust of duck hunters who are trying to make a quiet approach to their blinds.

Nests are placed in open spots on the ground and lined with pebbles or grasses. Eggs are protectively colored and not easily found.

An Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol. 1
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the Killdeer story in Birds and All Nature out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate XXXIX: Killdeer, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the Killdeer at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Killdeer Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Bird picture for notebook.

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book
Dover Nature Coloring Book based on Fifty Birds of Town and City by Bob Hines. Includes the killdeer.

Killdeer Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:
Nest & Eggs ~ Intro & Free eBook
Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs ~ Complete Series

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