Monday 16 November 2020

Killdeer: Some Surprises

    As is our daily afternoon practice; we took Kona for a walk.  We decided on doing it at the McBride Airfield.  As we drove there we could tell it wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience.   Flurried snow was slamming against our windshield.

    When we began our walk our earlier assumptions proved to be correct.  A strong wind was blowing, carrying the snowflakes horizontally.  We tightened up our coats and proceeded down the tarmac.  It was tolerable with the wind and snow at our back, but as soon as we got to the end of the runway and turned around we got to experience the wild weather in our face.

    Walking back I had my head down, looking at the tarmac, because of the snow blowing in my eyes and stinging the skin on my face.   Suddenly I saw movement out of the corner of my eye:  It was a pair of Killdeer that had just landed on the side of the runway.  It was a surprise, I certainly didn’t expect to see them during the winter.  

    Kona of course strained on the leash wanting to go over and investigate, but I kept her restrained.  The Killdeer walked along the edge of the runway looking for something to eat, and as you can see from the photo one of them found what looks like a worm; another surprise (why was there worms this time of year?).

    I got a third Killdeer surprise this morning as I checked one of my bird books to make sure I was right about these birds being Killdeer.  The book said:  “Common in meadows, farm fields, airfields--“What was that? --Airfields, they are common in airfields?  Who knew?

    While I have seen Killdeer at the airfield before, I didn’t realize that they are “commonly” seen in other airfields.  I always thought they mostly hung around shorelines of lakes and rivers.

    My bird book also said that they sometimes hang around their summer range during mild winter, but I assume these two are just hanging around while it is still moderately mild and will take off once more serious winter weather arrives.

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