Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Killdeer at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge

There were lots of big "charismatic" migratory birds at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge a few days ago, but there were also some very nice smaller birds who tend to be found on the refuge all year round. One of them is the Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus). I see them at work and in my own neighborhood, but they are pretty skittish. For whatever reason, this one didn't retreat as we drove up, and I was able to get a few close shots.

They aren't called Killdeers for any murderous proclivities. They're named for their unique call, which is a "kill-deer", of all things. It's one of the most distinctive sounds on the California prairie. The Killdeer is the mascot of the Great Valley Museum of Natural History as well.
It's a beautiful bird!