A Shorebird in Western PA? Yep!

20170316_094135When driving through WPNR down Walzer Way or the back parking lot, please be considerate of the organisms that we share this piece of nature with. Many mammals such as foxes, raccoons, and possums cross the road, though they will most likely do so at night when the trails are closed. During the day however, the road and parking lots can often be full of birds such as starlings, robins, and these little guys.

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferous) get their name from their shrill call of kill-deer when flying. They are described by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds site as ‘a shorebird you can see without going to the beach’ due to the fact that they are the least water associated of all the shorebirds.

A common bird in our area, they are ground nesters that can often be found on open ground with little to low vegetation. As such, they often venture 20170316_094130onto our parking lots and onto Walzer Way. Their behavior is often characterized by running a few steps, stopping to look around, and then running a few more steps, a behavior that is a joy to watch them perform on their stick like legs. Female killdeer will nest on open ground (they’ve even been known to nest on local soccer fields!). When faced with a predator close to her nest, the female killdeer will feign a hurt wing, leading the predator away from the nest, then fly away.

20170316_093955Watch out for these neat little birds, not only when driving through WPNR, but also when enjoying the trails. They are a delight to watch! For more information on killdeer, check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s site, All About Birds. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Killdeer/id.