The sun goes down. The lights come up. It’s Friday night and your local high school football team is hitting the field on a cool fall evening. But what is that little masked bird running around in the shadows? And what is it doing up so late?
That football-loving avifauna is the killdeer, the shorebird without a shore.
The killdeer, a larger version of the wave-avoiding sand-running plovers that decorate Massachusetts beaches, is most often seen far from shore. The neck and chest rings are good indicator, and they really look like nothing else on the field.
Practically invisible, right?
They pop up solo or in small flocks mostly on athletic fields and alongside commuter rail tracks in the Boston area. In the absence of owls, they are usually the only bird you will hear at night. And, if you get too close to these orange-eyed birds, they will head for the skies yelling a perturbed “Kill-deer!! Kill-deer!!”
Or, if they have babies nearby, they will do something even better.
Killdeer will pretend to be injured, throwing their buffy tails around, flapping wings like they are broken, luring predators towards them until…
Oh wait, I’m fine. See ya, sucka!
Loves | Going to late night football games, avoiding the beach
Sounds | Exactly like its name… Kill-Deer!
Looks | Like a large plover. What does a plover look like? A small killdeer.
Find | On football fields, soccer fields, baseball fields, train tracks … even late at night
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