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Killdeer

Grace Heritage Ranch

Walking down the path one day, you notice a small, long-legged, brown and white bird with two black stripes around its neck. The bird appears to be injured, since it’s limping and dragging a wing along the ground behind it. Every once in a while it lets out a pitiful cry. You want to help it, so you walk cautiously up to it. Just before you reach it, it starts a sad, lopping run away from you, still dragging the wing. It doesn’t appear able to fly, so you chase it a little further and faster hoping to catch it.

Suddenly, as you’re about to pick it up, the bird jumps up and flies away. What happened? Well it would appear you have been tricked by the crafty tactics of a parent Killdeer.

Killdeer are shore birds that really don’t live that near to shore. So named for the sound they make, killdeer prefer to lay their speckled eggs in rocky areas. When the babies hatch, they are precocial just like chickens and turkeys, fluffy little things that are able to eat and move around on their own. The killdeer chicks run around hiding in the grass with their parents. When a threat gets too close to their nest or chicks, killdeer parents will feign injury in order to lure the perceived predator away from their precious little ones. Once you are far enough away, the parent will take off, circling back later to rejoin its chicks.

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Killdeer are in the plover family and eat mainly insects. We actually have a lot of them here at Grace Heritage Ranch, especially after all the rain this winter. They are so good at camouflaging their nests and babies that we’ve never really seen the young until this past week. There’s a first time for everything, even after 4 years.

To learn even more and get hands-on experience, join us at Grace Heritage Ranch for our Saturday morning tours. We are located just 30 minutes northeast of Harlingen, TX near Santa Monica. Please visit us at www.GraceHeritageRanch.com or www.Facebook.com/VisitGHR. For a recorded message, please call 1-855-447-8687. We offer both public and private tours.

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