An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide – maryholland505@gmail.com

Killdeer Parents Provide Protection For Newborn Chicks

Killdeer are ground nesters and their young are precocial – born with a layer of down and able to walk, run and find their own food a few hours after hatching.  Even so, the parents brood (cover them with their body, providing heat) their young if it’s cool and provide shade for them if it’s hot the first few days after they hatch. 

Killdeer parents are very protective of their young.  Their distraction display — leading predators away from their chicks by feigning injury — is familiar to anyone who has closely approached them. They also provide shelter for their chicks if they perceive a threat. If you look closely at the main photograph, you will see four tiny legs extending to the ground from the adult Killdeer’s breast.  These legs, and the black tail feathers poking out of the adult’s white feathers, belong to two chicks who felt the need for protection.

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4 responses

  1. Rebecca Weil

    wonderful picture! Those legs say it all!

    June 6, 2022 at 8:21 am

  2. Alice

    Fantastic photo of a caring parent.

    June 6, 2022 at 8:42 am

  3. Yeah! And they do their little pretend wounded wing dance to make any aggressors to put their attention on the adult bird! Quite fascinating! I love Their Kil…..Dee…… call I learned all about them because the high school behind my house Tri-County Regional Technical School in Franklin Massachusetts has these birds nesting on their roof! Which consists of crushed stone cobblestone! 🙂 ❤

    June 6, 2022 at 9:35 am

  4. I watched a black duck or mallard do a distraction display yesterday when I was walking my dog – she led the dog away from a group of baby ducks who skedaddled into the water. I was fooled – at first I thought Kira might catch an injured duck! Then I saw the ducklings and put two and two together.

    June 6, 2022 at 2:49 pm

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