Is a Killdeer a protected bird?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

The Killdeer is indeed a protected bird. I remember learning about this during a birdwatching trip I took a while back. It was fascinating to see these birds in action. They have a distinctive appearance with their brownish upperparts, white underparts, and two black bands across their chest. But more than just their appearance, the Killdeer is also protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Act.

The U.S. Migratory Bird Act is an important piece of legislation that aims to protect migratory birds and their habitats. It was enacted in 1918 and has been instrumental in conserving and managing bird populations across the country. The Act makes it illegal to hunt, capture, or harm migratory birds, or disturb their nests or eggs without a permit.

Although the Killdeer is not considered endangered or threatened, it is still protected by this Act. This means that it is illegal to harm or disturb Killdeer or their nests without proper authorization. This protection ensures that these birds can continue to thrive and fulfill their important ecological roles.

Killdeer have adapted well to habitats created by humans, which is why they are a very common species. They can be found in a variety of open habitats such as fields, lawns, golf courses, and even parking lots. I remember spotting a Killdeer nest right in the middle of a gravel parking lot once. It was amazing to see how well the camouflage of the eggs blended with the surroundings.

One interesting behavior of Killdeer is their “broken-wing display.” If a predator approaches their nest, they will feign injury, dragging one wing on the ground as if it is broken. This behavior is meant to distract the predator and lead it away from the vulnerable nest. It’s truly remarkable to witness such intelligence and instinct in action.

While Killdeer are not endangered or threatened, they are protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Act. This protection ensures that they can continue to thrive and contribute to our ecosystems. It is important for us to respect and appreciate the presence of these beautiful birds and do our part in conserving their habitats.