Killdeer, the Shorebird Jailbirds

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) aren't wearing striped prison uniforms because they murdered Bambi. They got their name from their excited call of kill-deer! But they do have those horizontal stripes, which make them very recognizable. These shorebirds are often seen away from the beach, in fields, lawns, golf courses and open areas. The first killdeer I saw and photographed, on Feb. 24 of this year, was playing second base on a ballfield in the North Lawn of Central Park. On May 20 and May 27 I got good looks at the killdeer on Governors Island, where they nest. Killdeer are plovers, with their large, round heads, large eyes and short bills.

  Killdeer, Governors Island, May 27, 2017

Killdeer, Governors Island, May 27, 2017

I highly, highly recommend a video on YouTube by Cathy Weiner (quoteny) showing killdeer mating. It is absolutely beautiful and fascinating.

In my Filming the Feathers video, you can hear a killdeer calling, but it isn't the kill-deer! call they are known for. It is an insistent "Peep! Peep!" I put a couple of these calls at the beginning, before the Bach Brandenburg Concerto kicks in, in a version arranged for recorders and performed by Papalin.

  Killdeer, Central Park North Lawn, Feb. 24, 2017

Killdeer, Central Park North Lawn, Feb. 24, 2017

  Killdeer, Governors Island, May 20, 2017

Killdeer, Governors Island, May 20, 2017

The first photo in this group was taken on May 20; the rest were taken May 27, both days on Governors Island.