I Didn’t Kill Any Deer!

28 03 2012

When we moved into our new house we noted the call, every night, of what sounded like a shore bird. Except we don’t live anywhere near an ocean! And there was more than one of these birds. There were lots of them, every night, making loud noises. Remember, we just moved a mile or so from our old house and yet we had never heard these birds before. Also, we only heard them at night. What could they be?

The mystery was finally solved one night when our friend Bill was at our house. He told us they were Killdeer. What an attractive name for a bird, I am sure you are thinking! That is what we thought too! Who in their right mind named them that? Of course, the next day I had to go investigate. It seems that their call is supposed to sound like “kill deer.”  Well, having listened to these birds for two years now I can officially tell you that whoever thought their call sounded like “kill deer”  was on a previous century’s version of crack! The bird’s call doesn’t sound like “kill deer” at all and even if it did, why would you name a bird that????

Just imagine me in my home on a nice summer night, the windows are open, and my guests hear the very loud call of a bird. Good hostess that I am, I tell them in a calm and well modulated voice, “That is a Killdeer.” That tends to go over like a lead balloon and then I have to explain all about the name and why they are called that….

This still doesn’t explain why I have what sounds like a bird that should be living by the ocean in my back yard. I did a little more investigation and found the following information at www.allaboutbirds.com:

“A shorebird you can see without going to the beach, Killdeer are graceful plovers common to lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, and parking lots. These tawny birds run across the ground in spurts, stopping with a jolt every so often to check their progress, or to see if they’ve startled up any insect prey. Their voice, a far-carrying, excited kill-deer, is a common sound even after dark, often given in flight as the bird circles overhead on slender wings.”

I live next to a golf course so that explains the mystery of the bird we hear at night. Below is a photo of our little night caller.

Photo from About.com/birding/wild birds

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4 responses

29 03 2012
Beth

Growing up, there was a whippoorwill that lived near our house. He would call out at night, and it did sound sort of like the name. More than the killdeer. Maybe because there are songs about it, the name loses some of the violence – whip poor will. Our ancestors must have lived with more whipping and killing than us 🙂

29 03 2012
Michele

I’ve seen those birds running across grass before. I think it’s cute they stop running to check their progress. It’s like they’re exercising and need to check the distance they’ve run.

28 03 2012
katecrimmins

Ok, I couldn’t take your word for it. I went and listened to the call. Doesn’t sound like kill deer to me either. Maybe kadee, kadee. Of course, I don’t think the bobwhite says bobwhite or the chickadee says chickadee either. Guess I’m a cat person.

28 03 2012
Woman in the Middle

Did people hear differently back in the day? Nothing better to do than to come up with words that “sound” like a bird call? I would take a bobwhite in my backyard any day over a killdeer, just so I didn’t have to say “killdeer”!!!!!!!

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