Joe Sommer of Chilliwack reaches toward a killdeer on its nest on his property, in March 2021. The red marking is to alert the neighbouring farm to avoid the area. (Submitted photo)

Joe Sommer of Chilliwack reaches toward a killdeer on its nest on his property, in March 2021. The red marking is to alert the neighbouring farm to avoid the area. (Submitted photo)

Chilliwack man has close encounter with killdeer after marking nest

Killdeer nest near farm fields and other high danger areas, but man is intent on saving birds

Joe Sommer has been watching wildlife pass through his 34-acre farm in rural Chilliwack for 55 years.

Deer, coyotes, and every local bird species, to name just a few. One of those that reappear every year are the killdeer, a smallish brown, black and white bird.

Sommer is used to seeing them, and knows their nesting habits. Unlike other birds that build nests in trees and other hidden spots, killdeer plunk down on gravel and rock beds that have similar colours to their own eggs. They like wide-open spaces, and are found in farm fields, gravel rooftops, golf courses, pastures and even airfields.

They also love to eat the same bugs that habitate farm fields, mainly those that farmers see as pests.

This year, a killdeer couple has chosen to nest right along Sommer’s property edge to a neighbouring farm.

“They pop them down anywhere,” Sommer says with a laugh. And this year, they are letting him get close. He came into The Progress to show a photo taken where his hand is just inches away from the nesting bird. He had painted a bright red circle around the nest, letting his neighbours know it was there and to watch out for it.

Killdeer lose just over half their eggs to predators.

Sommer is just hoping to protect his nesting killdeer family over the coming weeks.

The website Hinterland Who’s Who describes how to identify a killdeer nest.

“The female lays four or, very rarely, five pear-shaped eggs, which are large and blunt at one end and pointed at the other and average 36.5 by 26.5 mm in size. The eggs are pale buff, irregularly spotted, blotched, or scrawled with blackish-brown or black, and always neatly arranged in a circle with the pointed ends turned inwards.”

Their shallow scrubby nests are also lined with pebbles, broken grass stems, and limestone or wood chips, the website states.

They are not endangered, and are common across North America.

READ MORE: Chilliwack girl loses driveway masterpiece to Mother Nature, with video


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CommunityNature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

Mabel Todd, 83, of the Nak’azdli First Nation, leads a group of family members and advocates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls as they walk along the so-called Highway of Tears in Moricetown, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Province, feds fund full cell service along ‘Highway of Tears’ following years of advocacy

A ‘critical milestone in helping prevent future tragedies’ after at least 10 Indigenous women murdered, missing along the route

Erin O’Toole, Conservative Party of Canada leader, answered questions during a Terrace District Chamber of Commerce event on April 6, 2021. (Screenshot/Terrace District Chamber of Commerce Facebook)
Erin O’Toole discusses Terrace issues during virtual event

Federal Conservative leader answered questions during a Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce event

Tree; Burns Lake library. (Laura Blackwell photo/Lakes District News)
Dragon Tree christened

The Burns Lake Public Library contest for dragon and tree names has… Continue reading

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

In Ontario, COVID-19 vaccine clinics have been set up at local mosques. (Submitted photo: Rufaida Mohammed)
Getting the vaccine does not break your fast, says Muslim COVID-19 task force

Muslim community ‘strongly’ encouraging people to get their shot, whether or not during Ramadan

Most Read