The saga of a family of killdeer

May 8, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

STAFF REPORT – Island photographer Len Tatko captured these images recently documenting the story of a new killdeer family near the Pink Elephant and 4th Street.

Len said he had a run-in with “mom,” then watched her go into her survival mode of pretending to be wounded. A killdeer runs from the nest to take attention away from the eggs, then drags a wing along the ground. He saw where the nest was, and realized there were eggs there.

Len went back to the scene a few days later and saw the eggs were gone.

“Then, almost a week later, I see four chicks and Mom just north of 5th Street across from Pink,” Len said. “It was a sequence of life that I so enjoyed.”

The killdeer is a shore bird, but when they breed they go inland to nest. Len has photographed many nests in past years, and he said it thrills him every time.