Protect Your Local Killdeers

Posted July 28, 2021 by Vindi Sekhon

Killdeers are urban and friendly birds found almost anywhere in the world and a familiar sight in Central America, South America, Europe and North America. Killdeers are easily spotted with their long legs, brown feathers on top and white wings. These impressive birds have run into trouble because of their connection to the urban world. Many killdeer nests are in urban environments, where these birds are at risk of natural and human disturbances.

All About Killdeer

Found in large, open expanses like athletic fields, lawns, and parking lots, Killdeer typically inhabit areas where vegetation is quite short – which allows them to find small bugs and invertebrates such as snails, beetles, and grasshoppers to eat. Killdeer have even been spotted eating frogs!

When creating nests, Killdeer will often create many scrapes (small holes in the ground large enough to hold eggs so they won’t roll away) and then choose the best one – therefore throwing off predators before they can even reach them. These small holes are indiscreet, often flying under the radar of the average eye. After laying eggs, the nests will be furnished with light-colored pebbles, twigs, litter and even shells!

What Affects Them

Due to their friendly nature, Killdeer are unafraid of inhabiting urban areas – which can lead them to great harm. Sports fields, golf courses, and lawns are open spots that Killdeer love. Unfortunately, these man-made open fields often use pesticides and frequently mow to keep the grass at a satisfactory level, which can harm fledglings a great deal. Pesticides, when ingested, are dangerous – and the loss of insects because of insecticides can lower their chance of survival. When Killdeer lose insects, they lose a vital food source. As well, Killdeer often nest roadside, leaving them vulnerable to vehicle collisions.

How to Help

Thankfully, there are many ways we can make sure that Killdeer stay safe this summer!

  • Keep an eye on the road. When driving, keep an eye out for nests roadside on highways (particularly gravel ones).
  • Park carefully. Killdeer love to nest in parking lots, so it’s important we make sure everyone has a good spot! When using parking lots, check to make sure there are no Killdeer before parking.
  • Check before mowing. Killdeers like to nest in lawns, so inspect your yard for hidden scrapes before mowing.
  • Use natural pesticides. Because they use lawns and athletic fields, killdeer are at risk of pesticides. By switching to natural alternatives, Killdeer and their young will be much safer!
  • Keep a cool birdbath. Just like us, Killdeer also need a break from the heat. Keep a cool birdbath to help Killdeer relax and take a break from high temperatures.

Of course, helping injured birds is another great way to help! If you see a bird that has exposed bone or blood, bugs or insects covering it, no feathers, or a bird that is sleeping, human intervention is required. Call Wildlife Rescue’s Support Centre at 604-526-7275. To help us return your call quickly, please leave your contact information and observation.

Let’s keep our Killdeers safe!

Posted in Education
Tags: , , , , , , , ,