Northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora), Island Center Forest, Tim DiChiara Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister), Sylvan beach, Tim DiChiara Acorn barnacles (Balanus glandula), Maury Island, Tim DiChiara Honey bee (Apis mellifera), Maury Island, Tim DiChiara Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Point Robinson, Elizabeth VanDeventer Shield-backed kelp crab (Pugettia productus), Raab's Lagoon, Tim DiChiara Wooly bear caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella), Maury Island, Tim DiChiara Sundew (Drosera Rotundifolia), Whispering Firs Bog, Tim DiChiara Long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum), Neill Point Preserve, Tim DiChiara

Featured photo Killdeer
Species details
Common name: Killdeer
Scientific name: Charadrius vociferus
Other names: Aegialitis vocifera, Chattering Plover, Field Plover, Kildeer
Family: Charadriidae
Origin: Native
Status on Vashon: Common

The killdeer is a medium-sized plover often found on Vashon's beaches. During nesting season, killdeer use open dry uplands, open areas where vegetation is short or absent, agricultural field, and meadows. In the summer, killdeer live as far north as British Columbia, Alberta,the Yukon and Quebec, as well as the southern parts of Alaska. The killdeer winters throughout Central America. It is named after the sound of its call.

The adults have a brown back and wings, a white belly, and a white breast with two black bands. The chicks are patterned almost identically to the adults, and are able to move around immediately after hatching. The nest itself is merely a shallow depression or bowl in the ground, fringed by some stones and blades of grass.

These birds will frequently use a distraction display ('broken-wing act') to distract predators from their nests. This involves the bird walking away from its nesting area holding its wing in a position that simulates an injury and then flapping around on the ground emitting a distress call. The predators then think they have easy prey and are attracted to this seemingly injured bird and away from the nest. If the parent sees that a potential predator is not following them, they will move closer and get louder until they get the attention of the predator. This is repeated until the predator is far from the nest, and the killdeer suddenly 'heals' and flies away.


More details: Encyclopedia of Life Wikipedia
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Biodiversity on Vashon Island, Washington, USA
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