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Watch Out For The Killdeer

It's that time of year when birds are laying and protecting their eggs. At Shoreline Regional Park, one of those birds is hard to see, but easy to hear.

A family was out strolling at Shoreline Regional Park on Saturday, with two dogs and a couple of kids. They were walking on the tan bark that separates the parking lot from the grass area by Ferry Point Park. 

A distraught woman began running in their direction, yelling for them to be careful. The adults were clearly confused - what was this woman yelling about? 

That woman - who happens to be my wife - was concerned about the well-being of the killdear who nests in the tan bark. 

A killdear is a bird common to places like lawns and parking lots, and this particular one has been in the tan bark for two years now. She's protecting four eggs, but her coloration makes it nearly impossible to see her. Since the tan bark is a natural walkway between the parking lot and lawn, it's easy to walk right by her without even knowing she's there.

Her defense, when threatened, is to run from the nest and jump around making noise, distracting the intruder from the fact that a nest is nearby. The noise they make sounds very much like "kill deer," thus the name.

These are shorebirds, but don't really take much to the water. 

If you see one, just be careful not to step on the nest. And if a woman comes running at you yelling for you to be careful where you step, chances are there's a killdear somewhere nearby. 

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