Shorebirds - Ryan Taylor


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Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

Oakes Quarry, Fairborn, Ohio

A member of the Plover family and quite possibly my favorite shorebird, Killdeer are very animated with some bizarre and unique behaviors. First off, they will try to fake a broken wing in order to ward off intruders at their nest. You will see the Killdeer laying down slanted and flailing it's wings around while chirping. Another tactic used is a false nest brooding behavior where they lay down and pretend to protect a nest that isn't there. The Killdeer you see here ended up acting out that false nesting before my eyes and lens. One last characteristic is their start-stop movement patterns. For this reason they can be tricky to photograph however enough practice earns satisfactory results. Maneuvers like this are unique to this species.

The name Killdeer is derived from their loud and raucous call. Often when startled they will fly around in circles belting out these notes. Suitable habitat for Killdeer are on beach shores, along some water streams, and in open fields.

This was taken on a gorgeous summer day and I spent a lot of time just laying on the ground and observing these little Plovers. The open and rocky landscape provided a nice backdrop for the image. I can't stress the importance of patience in wildlife photography, I spent as much time just watching them through binoculars as I did capturing them on the camera.

© 2018 Ryan L. Taylor Photography. All Rights Reserved.

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