Killdeer are known for their striking plumage and near perfect camouflage. A beautiful bird, slightly larger than an American robin, it is a delight to see. But it is known for something more unique than the beauty of its feathers. These dedicated parents both take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the young, and both will place themselves in danger to distract predators that approach the nest closely. Known as the "injured wing act", these birds convincingly feign a wing injury and make sounds of distress that excite a predator and have them thinking there is an easy meal for the taking. The birds lure the predators away until they are convinced that their young are safe and then they take flight, circling back when the coast is clear to sit on the eggs once again. Eggs hatch 21-28 days after the eggs are laid and the parents will spend the entire time keeping watch over them. Killdeer are named for their shrill call that resembles the words "killdeer" with the application of a little imagination. They prefer open meadows, short grass, and even pastures with cattle. Their nests are small indentations and are not readily visible to the untrained eye. Once the eggs hatch, the family will seek shelter in taller shrubs and vegetation where they can avoid predators until the young are able to care for themselves. These birds eat insects and they forage by day, and also during times when moonlight is higher, allowing insects to move about during the night. These birds are impressive in their dedication and their willingness to place themselves in front of danger to protect their eggs.
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