Watch Your Step…Killdeer Nests

Right now there are killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) nests all over St. Martin, in fields and on mudflats. In most cases I’ve seen, the nest just a small bowl of bits of stone or shell on the ground with two to four eggs inside. Although the nests seem obvious in the photos below, they can be very hard to spot, and could easily be trampled.

The easiest way to find a killdeer nest is to keep an eye out for the parents. They will make alarm calls and put on quite a show to distract you from the nest, including the old broken wing act and another move where they stick their butt in the air. I guess you could call that move the killdeer back-end.

Although the birds are comfortable nesting around human activity, the nests themselves are quite vulnerable, so it is important to be very careful if you are traveling in a potential nesting area, particularly if there are adults exhibiting these behaviors. Below are some photos of nests and the parents guarding them with their distraction displays.

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