Killdeer spotted in a small marsh just south of Rye Harbor, east side Route 1A, yesterday around 5 p.m. during a get-out-of-the-house coastal drive after rain.
The Killdeer is the largest of the ringed plovers, and the only plover in its range with a double breast band. Killdeers have brown upperparts, white underparts, and orange rumps.
A bird of the spring and summer!
Killdeer are surprisingly unobtrusive even on green lawns, despite their warm tawny coloration. Look carefully over lawns, short-mown fields, and even parking lots, and listen for the far-carrying kill-deer. (When you hear this call, the bird may be in flight. Look for it circling you, flying stiffly on long, pointed wings. It may resemble an American Kestrel, at least until it lands on the ground and begins walking.) Though they’re often found on dry land, you should also look for them on the edges of freshwater ponds and muddy lagoons.
Killdeer are members of the plover family. I like the way their orange-rimmed eyes appear huge; they look like toy birds. Their movement on the ground accentuates the effect.
These tawny birds run across the ground in spurts, stopping with a jolt every so often to check their progress, or to see if they’ve startled up any insect prey.
More: The Precocious Killdeer
Baby killdeer always come out running.