Killdeer Nest and Eggs

Awaiting hatching
Parent Killdeer sitting on their nest.


Killdeer eggs.  Always no more than four.

Killdeer can be found in many states and Texas is no exception.  The unusual thing about this bird is they always build their nests on the ground, whether it be rocky, gravel, or grassy.  Notice how the eggs blend in with their environment.  The nest was impossible to see unless we happened to walk right to it.  The parents make it easy to find the nest, though, because when a person or animal gets close, one or the other, sometimes both parents, will leave the nest and act injured, trying to draw attention away from the nest.

Their cry when they feel danger is plaintive, similar to a baby’s cry when it is in pain.

Most bird nests are protected
under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
(MBTA). This law says: “No person
may take (kill), possess, import,
export, transport, sell, purchase,
barter, or offer for sale, any migratory
bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of
such bird except as may be permitted
under the terms of a valid permit…”
Under the MBTA it is illegal to
destroy a nest that has eggs or chicks
in it or if there are young birds that
are still dependent on the nest for
survival. It is also illegal for anyone to
keep a nest they take out of a tree or
find on the ground unless they have
a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (USFWS).

When they are not acting injured, their cry while hunting sounds like they are saying “Killdeer.” (At least, that’s what it sounds like to me.)

Their young leave the nest as soon as their feathers are dry.

Click on the link below to hear the sound.