While driving on a back country road, my daughter Stephanie noticed a few killdeer running beside the edge of the street. Knowing that I like unique nature shots, she stopped to see if she could get a good picture for me. I think she did a marvelous job!
She captured the essence of what this species of bird is; a master of camouflage. These birds build their nest on the ground in a shallow depression. It is well camouflaged because the spots on the eggs disguise them as rocks and the simple structure of the nest resembles its surroundings. If you aren’t aware that they do this, one could easily step on a clutch of eggs before you could catch yourself from doing so. It helps that the adult bird employs a “broken-wing” act to lure predators away from the nest. Whenever I see a killdeer exhibiting this behavior, I’ve learned to immediately stop walking and search the ground. Sometimes I’ve only been a foot or two away and hadn’t noticed the nest.
Did you see the nest in Stephanie’s picture? I’ve enlarged the photo to show the eggs.