This NH Bird’s Entertaining Broken Wing Act Is For Survival
This has been an unusually good year to see a killdeer in NH. If you happen to be walking anywhere near their nest this summer, don't be fooled by the 'Broken Wing' act.
Killdeer can be found at the beach, (they are technically a plover after all), but they'll also commonly find refuge in sparse grassy fields, not unlike what we have here in the Granite State.
The killdeer's nesting habits are at the core of this strange 'Broken Wing' performance that you may be able to see in person if you happen to walk a little too close to their nests on the ground.
The most common place I've seen this happen is on the golf course, these birds are incredibly gifted at flopping one wing at an unnatural angle while they slowly walk away from you.
I can't tell you how many times I've seen golfers taken in by this routine, only to watch the female killdeer fly up in perfect health and retreat back to the general vicinity of their nest.
That's why it's best to just leave them alone if confronted by this situation, as their act is used to fool predators, not humans who are most likely going to try to scoop them up in a towel to take them to a wildlife rehabilitator.
It is estimated that only half of their eggs and hatchlings survive the rough world of nesting on the ground. The last thing they need is for some curious hiker to unwittingly step on one of their perfectly camouflaged homes.
If you stay on the path (or the fairway), you're guaranteed to keep them 'flying right'.