We are fortunate to have a wide variety of wildlife on the farm. Each spring, our farm becomes home to killdeer birds. With their tiny nests nestled into the debris and weeds of the untilled fields, it is a challenge to see their eggs. Luckily, the killdeer adults put on quite a show to get our attention.
When walking near a nest, the adult killdeer make a loud call and pretend to be injured, hoping to attract potential predators away from a nest to an easier (and potentially more fulfilling) meal. While this works in some circumstances, it also announces to the crows that there is, indeed, a nest nearby.
Killdeer make our work challenging at times. They nest in the middle of the fields, often necessitating a tractor detour in order to avoid their nests during field preparation. At the same time, they eat a lot of pests and are phenomenally entertaining to watch. Unfortunately, as with the nest above, even if we are able to find a nest and work around it, other animals such as crows and ravens take the eggs.
Overall, killdeer are one piece of a larger part of the biodiversity we try to foster on the farm. Their presence provides us a benefit and, in turn, we try to ensure our farm is friendly to the wildlife looking for space in an increasingly crowded landscape.
For more information about the killdeer, check out the Hinterland Who's Who profile.