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ursulav

Kevin vs. Killdeer



When Kevin and I were in New Orleans a month or so ago, we were out birding and encountered this killdeer in a parking lot. It immediately set about convincing Kevin that its wing was broken. Really broken. SO BROKEN YOU GUYS.

Killdeer are, of course, justly famous for this trick. They do it to lure predators away from the nest. Kevin ambled after the bird with a camera and I watched them do a slow motion chase scene across the parking lot.

Eventually, having taken about a million photos, Kevin stopped. But the killdeer did not. There were four of us, but Kevin, rescuer of kittens, was clearly the menace. It was practically charging him waving its “broken” wing.

Kevin: No, I’m done, it’s okay.

Killdeer: MY WING IS SUPER BROKEN

Kevin: I have no interest in your nest.

Killdeer: THIS WING, RIGHT HERE? I BROKE IT IN THE WAR. TWO WARS. SEVEN WARS. SO MANY WARS.

Kevin: I’m starting to feel weird about this, bird.

Killdeer: AAUGH LOOK NOW MY OTHER WING IS BROKEN TOO

Kevin: …

Killdeer: I WILL RUN A LITTLE WAY AND FALL OVER WAVING MY BROKEN WINGS THE PAIN THE PAIN

Kevin: I’m not going to chase you.

Killdeer: YOU HAVE TO CHASE ME MY WINGS ARE BROKEN ALSO I BELIEVE MY LEGS ARE GOING

Kevin: This is just sad.

Killdeer: I BELIEVE I AM ALSO ON FIRE

Kevin: You’re still going.

Killdeer: THERE IS NO PAIN LIKE THIS PAIN PLEASE STEP A LITTLE FARTHER THIS WAY I AM SURELY ABOUT TO BE CAUGHT AT ANY MOMENT

Kevin: Fine, if it’ll make you happy.

(Kevin ambles after Killdeer)

Killdeer: JUST A LITTLE FARTHER…A LITTLE BIT FARTHER AND SURELY I WILL STOP RUNNING AWAY DID I MENTION THAT MY WINGS ARE SUPER-BROKEN?!

(Kevin, camera in hand, stumbles onto a group of King Rail chicks in the ditch)

Rail Chicks: AAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGHHHHMONSTER

Kildeer: AHAHA DEVOUR THEM, MY ENEMY, WHILE I FLEE BACK TO MY CHILDREN ON MY MAGICALLY HEALED WINGS

Kevin: …that bird is a jerk.

(Photo by Kevin)

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Great picture!

… and remind me to never get in a caption writing contest with you guys.

That is delightful; I just shared it with cattitude, eliding some of the middle dialogue because he knows all about killdeers.

Okay, now I want to mind-meld with a killdeer, to see what it's actually thinking during this behavior. :-)


Edited at 2016-06-17 11:28 pm (UTC)

I'm pretty sure Ursula got it right.
Killdeers pretend to be injured to lead predators away from their nests. Leading a predator to another bird's nest is a good strategy, that way the predator isn't hungry anymore and will not come back to the Killdeer's nest.
But Kevin is right. It's jerk move.

Yes, I know that. What I meant was I wondered if any of this behavior was consciously mediated or if it was all instinctual. The PURPOSE of the behavior is what Ursula said; what I was wondering is how much of it, if any, the bird was conscious of.

I heard this story on the podcast.
23 minutes into Episode 221 - Tortie, don't step there! Sun, 15 May 2016
Still funny!

Edited at 2016-06-21 01:01 am (UTC)

I hope you didn't mean the stumble literally. That is a cunning way to get a predator away from your own chick - sacrifice another bird species.

Before I broke my computer, I liked playing "Rust". You are naked, wandering through wilderness. There are dangerous bears and wolves. There are also more experienced players with weapons, who like killing less-experienced players.

When attacked by a bear, I would run towards the territory of a cruel player. When attacked by a cruel player, I would run towards an area with a bear. The bear and the player would end up fighting. It didn't matter whichever won, the neighborhood would be down one opponent.

Rust is the premier Libertarian Utopia simulator.

Until a recent server reset, there was one group doing very well on the Facepunch Toronto server. They had a collective base that they shared, with a communal furnace, refinery, and everything else. They had enough surplus resources to build a huge complex of skyscrapers going up as far as the server allowed, visible from vast distances. Concentric rings of walls kept them safe from attackers. They had a strict code of ethics, and vigorously patrolled their territory to protect the weak from thieves. Noobs were safe and protected in the shadow of their towers.

Really helped me appreciate civilization.


Don't know if it has been verified

But there was a news story about someone who was in the woods and had a wolf stalk her. She led it to where a bear was feeding... (I think she was out looking for mushrooms or berries or somesuch)

That kildeer has me laughing out loud!

Ohmy, I remember this story from the podcast. Kildeer are certainly notorious for this. I used to "chase" one that would mime the broken wing, then, when I resolutely ignored it to look for the nest, miraculously fly back on healed wings just to "break" them again in front of me.

Over and over again. Bird must've had healing potions. ;-)

*snort laughs* birds rock

I was laughing so hard after the second set of caps that I couldn't read! (it's been an emotional week; thanks for this!)

Forwarding to family

I don't often laugh out loud at things online, but this one actually had me snorting coffee. Much-needed and appreciated hilarity! Thank you!

Never heard of these birds or the behaviour, but man am I laughing so much at the running commentary! Love it :)

On the subject of weird animals behaving badly, we haven't had a dungeon update in quite some time. There was something about Drow Bob, I think.

BWA HA HA H A HA HA H AH AH AHAHAHA

I've met that bird, I reckon.

I'm surprised you didn't try to spot the nest! Or whatever they use for a nest - they mostly just lay their eggs on the ground to blend in with whatever rocks are there. I happened on a similar performance one time, in a vacant lot, and I managed to zero in on the chick that was running around. It was so cute! A miniature copy of the parent, except fluffy, and NO TAIL!!! It was still very new - I was able to pick it up to get a better look, before I finally left them alone.

One other time we were on a float trip and a wood duck pulled the broken wing trick, leading us down the river and away from her nest - in the direction we were going anyway, but she felt like it was all her doing!

ahahahhahaha that bird is a jerk!

there was a killdeer who built her nest in between the planes where I fly, we put a cone out but she was super pissed every time anyone went to get a plane. Though then it rained a lot and the nest was underwater for about 6 hours so we think that didn't work out anyway. :/

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