A delightful shorebird, the Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) ranges far beyond the shore. Common enough in open grasslands or on sandbars and mudflats, it’s as likely to show up on lawns, golf courses, or parking lots. Usually solitary or part of a mated pair, its call is clear and unmistakable: one of spring and summer’s beloved sounds.
I’d never seen a Killdeer stirring the water with its foot to bring up bits of food until I noticed one doing just that at the edge of the Brazoria Refuge’s Big Slough. Unperturbed by my presence, it stirred its way down the shoreline, occasionally casting a glance toward the sky at the sound of a passing bird.
Once reassured, it continued to stir the water, bobbing its head down from time to time to snatch a treat.
Suddenly it stopped, and turned away from the water. Climbing onto piles of dead reeds lining the shore, it began a purposeful walk toward a different section of water.
As I watched, it crept closer to the object of its curiosity: a Wilson’s Snipe perched at the edge of the reeds.
For a few minutes, nothing much happened. The Snipe sat; the Killdeer watched.
Eventually, I crept closer and the Snipe turned toward me, showing the neatly patterned feathers at the top of its head.
Then, it settled down again on its reeds, while the Killdeer, its curiosity apparently satisfied, continued its journey down the shoreline, stirring and bobbing as it went.