Monday 21 July 2014

Killdeer chicks down to two.

We decided to follow this family's fortunes vicariously through Annette Cunniffe to see how they got on. Waders generally have a hard time raising young, but usually they are out of sight in inaccessible places. These Killdeers are raising a family where they can be observed so we are able to see what happens to the young birds, or at least see how many of them survive even if we do not necessarily know why, if not.

Still looking very downy the birds are developing fast.
Photo: Annette Cunniffe.

Last Sunday, the 20th of July, at low tide which occurred in the early afternoon Annette said she could now only locate two chicks. That's 50% mortality so far. The two she saw were with an adult. Here are the photographs of the two young birds that remain.

This individual is looking a lot less sleek retaining much more of its downy chick feathers.
Photo: Annette Cunniffe.
While she was there Annette noticed a Spotted Sandpiper as she was leaving on the edge of the lawn and shrubs at a relative's place right by the vegetable garden and thought this odd. Can't say we get many waders visiting our vegetable patch, such as it is.


  1. I've observed killdeer chicks for a long time and they're experts at hiding in plain sight. I've had chicks "disappear" and re-appear many times. Another thing I've observed is that at around three weeks old, families will split up. I've found that sisters will go with their dad and brothers will stay with mom. They usually end up reuniting after about six or seven weeks old.

    1. Hi Darlene. That is a very interesting observation and does at least give us hope that the other two chicks that have gone missing are absent with the parent bird that also seems to have made itself scarce! Fingers crossed. Thanks for taking the time to comment, much appreciated.