Is That Double Stuf?

Well, the latest exploration is nearing completion. Time to turn the RV northward and begin the return leg. Like a good Oreo, our trips tend to be a bit crunchy on the ends, but sweet and delicious in the middle. This year the special ingredient was our first fallout resulting in a Warbler extravaganza. Before you get too excited about the future posts, be patient. On a normal outing I can be a bit heavy on the shudder – after this trip I will likely need months of therapy to simply uncurl my index finger. Not to mention I haven’t even scratched the surface from the January trip. Getting way ahead of myself – focus Bri, focus!

Killdeer found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in April 2017

As we are officially over the hump, I can dive back into the older captures. Tonight’s featured feathered friend comes to us from Havana. Ummm, before you start having a flashback to a bad Patrick Swayze sequel, that’s Havana, ILLINOIS. A rather nondescript small rural town that happens to sit near Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge – the jewel of the Midwest when it comes to birding.

Killdeer found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in April 2017

Hit the jump if you have a sweet tooth.

This refuge is full of Oreos smothered in bird. Bet you thought that lead in trip metaphor was a bit odd ha! Actually, the Oreo is my personal reference key for the Killdeer. More of an anti-pattern for those in the software development fields. In reality I hope I don’t see the two black stripes on the neck.

Killdeer found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in April 2017

Nothing directly against the Killdeer, I just have oodles of them in the tin. They are literally everywhere from the upper territories of Canada all the way down into Central America (except Alaska, they are afraid of bears). Walk along the water or find some open farmland, filter out the ambient noise and listen for the macabre sounds calling for death to all deer…or a dog going medieval on a squeak toy – both quite unnerving.

Killdeer found at Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge in April 2017

Back to the anti-pattern. What I do not have in the tin is a breeding Semipalmated Plover. There are definitely other distinguishing marks, but from a field perspective I start with whether it has one or two rings. Sorry, Oreo vs Hershey bar pie. When I see the double stuf my excitement dampens. I still enjoy these squeakmeisters with their broken wing charades and blood lust eyes, but I need me some Semi Plovers!

For some reason I now have a craving for a dessert. Hope you enjoyed seeing a few shots from the past – take care everyone!

17 thoughts on “Is That Double Stuf?”

  1. I remember their call from when I was a kid. We stumbled onto one of their nests on the ground, with a few eggs inside. There was a parent circling overhead shouting “killdeer killdeer” (with emphasis, higher pitch and almost two syllables on “deer”). Being curious lads we left the nest along but went back to check on it until there were chicks. Then we were distracted by baseball or bicycles or some other shiny object at 10 years old. It’s one of those calls that will catch my attention even among background noise. (sort of like the black cap chickadee in spring). Love the color and contrast on the bird.

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    1. Sounds like you started birding at an early age! Oddly enough, for how abundant they are, I cannot remember really seeing them until I moved to the Peoria area. Probably as you say, too focused on sports to stop and listen to nature during those years. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your encounter.

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  2. Love the detail you’ve captured. I will have to look MUCH closer at this great bird… which is, as you say, everywhere. I remember almost stepping on a Killdeer nest in the gravel parking lot of a gardening center. The parents were squealing at me from among the car tires, and it took my flower-addled brain a few seconds to put the story together.

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    1. Thanks Sam! As I mentioned to Rudi above, this particular specimen made it pretty easy to tin – would run into the light and pose for me – hamming it up on the runway ha! Not the brightest species when it comes to picking their nests, but to their credit, it appears to be working for them based on the shear numbers of them. The amazing thing is how their eggs blend in with the rocks and pebbles. Appreciate you coming by Sam and keep an eye out for the walking Oreo.

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    1. Thanks B! This one was fun to photograph .. once my ears got accustomed to racket ha! Glad you got to experience one – must have gotten a bit lost to make it all the way over there.

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      1. It took a massive wrong turn! Not complaining though great to see one.
        Most waders can get a bit vocal especially around breeding time, one of the joys of living near the coastal marshes is (when allowed!) going to see them.

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  3. These guys bring back childhood memories! We would hunt for the nests in the farm fields. Then would try to catch the babies when the parents “faked” the broken wing. When we finally caught one one year our Mother was NOT HAPPY. We were grounded and had more unpleasant farm chores to keep us busy.

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    1. Beginning to think I am the only one who doesn’t have childhood memories of this bird and I swear I was outside every single day of my childhood. You would think your mother would be happy with your dedication to finding and catching one — apparently not – maybe a memory to keep buried hehehe. Thanks for checking in CJ.

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  4. CJ, you could have told your mother you were catching a baby Killdeer because they are ABSOLUTELY the cutest, most adorable chicks of any bird species I know, including plovers. Especially when they are standing up hiding under their mothers wings with just their legs showing.

    Not my picture: https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/tulsaworld.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/a5/1a5dc6f8-e231-5306-9ee9-88d5727e5ada/5b243f4b8b31a.image.jpg?resize=1200%2C799

    I just told Brian today that I need to get more pics of the Killdeer chicks this spring for that reason, and if a chick needs to be captured for that reason then Brian is the guy to do it.

    Ron

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