Hello! Most of my posts take place around San Diego County, (Mostly Lake Murray) unless otherwise noted.
For more posts and photos, I also post on Hubpages, a site that is a bit different than others. Thanks!: Shorebirdie on Hubpages

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Little Male" and the Lake Murray Killdeers

I first came across "Little Male" when I first started to get interested in killdeer. I call him "Little Male" because the first time I saw him, he seemed really small and tiny. Now, however, he seems to have filled out more, but that might be because I have been able to get closer to him and he has chosen to get closer to me.

I could hear him calling his "kill-dee! kill-dee!" call as soon as I got out of the car at Lake Murray in La Mesa and found him at what I now know as as usual part of his territory. At the time I first saw him, he was having an "argument" with another male and a female at that time. Since then, I have found that the male and female had moved to an area of the lake that is mostly restricted to the public. That is where they are most likely to have chicks which both makes me happy and sad. Happy that the chicks will probably be safer there than a place where the public is allowed, sad that I won't be able to see them.

The next time I saw Little Male was on the opposite side of the lake. It was a quieter day with less people and he was feeding along the shore. He doesn't like it when I would try to follow him. But, when I do, he does something that I found to be pretty much characteristic of him only and not other killdeers that I have observed so far at the lake. The first thing he does is lay down flat, like a chick does when it's very young, and trill, sometimes very slowly. Then, he will calm down and begin feeding again. If you try to follow him, he will trill loudly and then lie down again and hide. If I am feeling really patient, I will find a place to sit and observe him. He will get up, continue walking away, look at me a few times, and then start to feed again. He will sometimes come back my way and forage within feet of me. If I then get up and move slightly toward him, he will ignore me unless I try to point a camera at him.

Note: I purposely didn't close-crop these photos so that you can see how much I need to get that zoom lens.

Little Male says "Lady, when are you gonna get that zoom lens!"

Other killdeers on the lake, like a second male that I call "Second Male" will let me get closer without getting upset (maybe a little trill), but will just fly away to the other end of his territory if he is too annoyed with me or I follow him too much. The same goes with the other killdeer on the lake.

Second Male says, "What is this crazy lady doing trying to get close to me and not the other birds?"

I really like the "Little Male" and "Second Male", but can't get a good picture of them without spooking them right now. I think I actually look like I'm harassing the poor birds to other observers when I'm at the lake and that's the last thing I ever want to do as I love these birds so much. I may have to find a way to get those long lenses.

What's funny is that while I am chasing around these birds, other birds at the lake sneak right up to me with no problem.

**I am sexing these killdeers, right now, by behavior, though I am learning to sex them more by sight, which is very hard for these birds**

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