Age of young at first flight roughly 25 days. Young: Downy young leave nest soon after hatching. [16] Both sexes (although the male more often than the female) advertise in flight with loud "killdeer" calls. [3] The killdeer has a maximum lifespan of at least 10 years and 11 months. The bird life of Texas. Version 6.2 2006. [3] In both cases, the breeding season itself extends to about August. College Station TX 77843-2258 In very hot climates, adults shade eggs in mid-day, may soak belly feathers to help cool eggs. In Mississippi, Killdeer have successfully hatched young as late as mid-November (Jackson and Jackson 2000) and it is likely that such late nesting may occur in southern Texas as well. [32] When feeding in fields, it sometimes follows plows to take earthworms disturbed to the surface. choice of habitats, its onomatopoetic killdee calls, its so ostentatious broken-wing distraction display, and its ubiquity. Chicks are not fed by their parents and must get to an area where small invertebrates are readily available. Extreme nesting dates for Dallas County in north Texas were 6 March (3 eggs) and 18 August (chicks), with a peak of nesting in mid-April (Pulich 1988). Often found on open ground, such as pastures, plowed fields, large lawns, even at a great distance from water. [5], The killdeer's common name comes from its frequently heard call. 2005), a greater abundance than elsewhere in the state. Foods probably vary somewhat seasonally, including primarily small invertebrates such as earthworms and grasshoppers, but opportunistically including such things as small frogs and dead fishes. Photo: Harry Colquhoun/Audubon Photography Awards. [13] Nests are also sometimes located on rooftops. The Killdeer is not without its problems, however. It then crouches, droops its wings, and lowers its tail. Unlike many species, there are probably more Killdeer in Texas today than ever. [3] It has a short, thick, and dark bill, flesh-colored legs, and a red eye ring. [29], The killdeer feeds primarily on insects (especially beetles and flies), in addition to millipedes, worms, snails, spiders, and some seeds. Its alarm call is a long, fast trill. [3] It forages almost exclusively in fields (no matter the tide), especially those with short vegetation and with cattle (which likely shorten the vegetation) and standing water. The male also advertises by calling from a high spot,[17] scraping out a dummy nest,[18] and with killdeer flights, where it flies with slow wingbeats across its territory. Incubation is by both parents, 24-28 days. Buff, blotched with black and brown. [3] The energy expenditure of both sexes is at its highest during egg-laying; the female needs to produce eggs, and the male needs to defend its territory. [36] Before displaying, it usually runs from its nest, making alarm calls and other disturbances. Jackson, B. J. S., and J. AgriLife Extension's online Bookstore offers educational information and resources related to our many areas of expertise and programming; from agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources to nutrition, wellness for families and youth, and much more. In rural areas heavily grazed pastures and   gravel roadsides are favored. [15] Although generally a low-land species,[3] it is found up to the snowline in meadows and open lakeshores during its autumn migration. Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future. With increasing aridity to the west, the species becomes increasingly limited to riparian and irrigated areas, but this is a species that might be expected to turn up wherever suitable habitat can be found. Widespread, common, and conspicuous, the Killdeer calls its name as it flies over farmland and other open country.

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