Killdeer
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by Craig Kimble

This spring I witnessed an interesting natural behavior of a small bird. I was installing a wire fence along a creek that runs through the short-grass prairie South East of Denver Colorado. As I worked I noted that if I walked within 30 or so yards of the bird it would act as if it was hurt, straightening its wings as if broken and turning its tail toward me doing a little dance. If I approached the bird it would allow me to get very close before flying off sounding a Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee. I later researched the bird and found it to be a Killdeer. What I was witnessing is called a "conspicuous distraction display" and is used by the bird to lure a predator away from nest and eggs.
 Information about this behavior found in the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds.

Killdeer
Photo by Craig Kimble

Conspicuous distraction display
Photo by Craig Kimble