Monday, November 10, 2008

'Tis the Season

Well, it was too dark and much too wet to get outside at lunch today, so I'll have to turn back a couple of weeks to find some shots for Bird Photography Weekly #11.

Just before our first real cool front of the season, I stumbled across this group of a dozen or so Killdeers (Killdeer?) in a field near the office.

click image to enlarge
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferous)

click image to enlarge
(Click any image to enlarge)

click image to enlarge

One of these little plovers was thoughtful enough to give me a great view of his coloring and field marks with wings spread — something I rarely get to see this close up.

click image to enlarge
And even though I stayed in my car so as not to disturb them, apparently one fellow decided I was getting just a tad too close to his family. I'd heard it described before, but this was my first time to witness firsthand the broken-wing ruse they employ to lead potential threats away from their young. First he got as close to the vehicle as he dared, perhaps thirty feet or so. Then he extended and began dragging his right wing, slowly moving away from me and from the other Killdeers.

click image to enlarge
When I didn't immediately follow, he began dragging one foot as well, hopping along and emitting rather shrill "dee-dee-dee." And watching me all the while.

click image to enlarge
I doubt they had any nests nearby at this time of the year, but I let myself be led away from the rest of the birds to keep from spooking and flushing the entire flock.

On a related note, I just learned that a group of Killdeers is called a "season."

There is a season! Turn, turn, turn...

For some much more professional bird photos, check out Bird Photography Weekly #11.

Bird Photography Weekly


mick said...

Great photos. I especially like the one with the wings spread and all the color and markings visible.

Bevson said...

Fabulous photos!!! I have seen the poor pathetic broken wing ploy, but never the added drama of the dragging foot. What a ham!

Vickie said...

These are magnificent photos! I love the detail. When I lived on my farm I enjoyed listening to them call every morning. That's where I first discovered that rust orange on the rump with my binoculars. But you know, I never witnessed their broken wing display. So this was a real treat!

Kyle said...

Mick- Yup, that's my favorite as well. I'd never before gotten that good a look at that rich color hidden in the tail and wings.

Bevson- Thanks. He was indeed a ham!

Vickie- Thank you, and thanks for visiting. It was actually pretty funny to watch. As Bev said, that fella was quite the ham.

Arija said...

You caught some good ones there with the spread-eagle back view and the helpless feints.

Anonymous said...

Pretty fascinating that you got to see the broken wing ploy at this time of the year. Excellent!

Kathiesbirds said...

I never knew the collective noun for killdeer was a season. Do you think there is a season for a murder of crows? Wonderful photos and commentary!