Killdeer Eggs


Killdeer Eggs, Clover and Pig Dung

These are the eggs of Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus. They look like stones. Or at least that is the idea. They’re quite pretty. These ones were laid out in the middle of our south field plateau. In the winter that area is a paddock and hay storage area. During the warm months we grow pumpkins, beets, turnips, tomatoes and other thing which will become food for the livestock the next fall and winter when the pastures wane.

We didn’t used to have Killdeer around here. Theirs wasn’t a song I heard. As we cleared the pastures they started showing up. I call the Killdeer the ‘wrong turn’ because they remind me of terns from down on the sea coast. Being up here would make them terns that took a wrong turn. But they’re Killdeer.

The Killdeer are voracious eaters of insects, I like that. The Killdeer are very loud. I could do without that. The Killdeer don’t like hawks and ravens. They’ll attack them. That I appreciate. They’re quite beautiful to see flying. Little attack artists darting around the sky.

Another bird we’ve started seeing since the field clearings is the Common Grackle, Quiscalus quiscula. They have a funny vertical tail and look like tiny ravens trying to imitate hummingbirds, that is to say they flap their wings very quickly rather than soaring.

Apparently Grackles a problem with corn, but so for that hasn’t been hasn’t been an issue for us since we haven’t tended to be very successful at corn anyways – too cool and short a growing season. I have never seen them going after either the corn sprouts or the ears. This could be due to our dogs, who like to snack on the Grackles, or any wild bird or rodent they can catch, given the chance. Snacks are a major part of the dog’s diet.

The Grackles are quite fierce against Crows, Ravens and Hawks so that is a benefit of having them around. They attack these larger birds in teams, beating them away. I like that since the bigger birds are all predators who would like to kill piglets or, in the hawk’s case, chickens too.

Some people say that crows and raven’s, Corvus, aren’t a threat to pigs but they are wrong. I have seen them attack and kill piglets. At first when I found the bodies of piglets that had been eaten by the Corvus I assumed that they were scavenging. Then I saw the attack marks on live piglets. Then I saw an actual attack by a Corvus on a piglet. They’ll peck at it to injure and weaken the pig, up to grower size of about 30 lbs. When the pig slows down enough the Corvus rip out the pigs eyes to blind it. Then they start feeding on the pig while it is still alive. This is not Disney, or perhaps it is the darker side where the monsters dwell.

In any case, I appreciate how the Grackles and Killdeer are territorial against the predator birds. The Killdeere and Grackles are adding an air force to our ground troops, the dogs. Kita, the raven baiter, would give them two fangs up.

Outdoors: 64°F/56°F Partially Sunny, 1″ Rain
Tiny Cottage: 69°F/66°F

Daily Spark: Theory only takes experts to the edge of the cliff. It is adventurers who make the leap and discover.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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6 Responses to Killdeer Eggs

  1. Jeremy aka "Copperhead" says:

    Very Cool! Thanks!

  2. Andrea says:

    That is a beautiful photo! You are so lucky to live where you do where you see such beauty all around you all the time! Your photos should be on calendars! I love the story too of how you and the animals live together. How you created spaces that invited them and then how they defend those spaces benefiting you. Beautiful!

  3. Stacy Dopp says:

    I agree with the noise level of the killdeer’s . I remember them as a kid. Thanks for the memory.

  4. Nance says:

    We have killdeer in Iowa which I know and recognize but I have never seen the eggs. Those are pretty cool!

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