Posts Tagged ‘Killdeer’

At the edge of a parking lot, here in Davis, CA, my wife and I found a family of Killdeer.  The two adults were wandering around a patch of dry, exposed dirt and watched over their four young as they also wandered the dirt patch foraging for food.  Killdeers clutches are usually comprised of four eggs, so this looks like it was a very successful nest where all four eggs hatched and the young all seem to be doing quite well.  The young were tiny balls of fluff on legs that seemed too tall for them (it will be a little while before they grow into them).  Their coloration was an almost exact replica of the adults: brown back, white belly, and the classic black ring across the neck.  The young birds only had a single ring and will get their second when they molt into their first basic plumage.  At one point, one of the young gave a call that sounded exactly like that of an adult bird.  It was impressive to hear this bird, that could not have been more than a few days old, already able to produce fully developed vocalizations.

The young, being highly precocial and so able to walk as soon as their feathers dry, were wandering over a good sized area.  One in particular was exploring and foraging much farther away from its parents then its siblings.  I wonder if this more adventuresome behavior will be a consistent aspect of this bird’s personality, and also if this personality continue into adulthood?  Personality, or behavioral syndromes as they are often called, have been found in many species, but little work has been done on when these behavioral syndromes form or how they may change as an individual ages.

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