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

.
Kootenay Boundary COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Four new cases in Castlegar last week

t
Q&A with the Castlegar council candidates

Four candidates are running for one council seat

Email editor@fedwaymirror.com
LETTER: Covid blame should fall on leaders, not youth

Reader Rod Retzlaff blames leaders for COVID variant spread

A mushroom grower plans to plan new mushrooms in fallen trees in the Kaslo Community Forest. File photo
Kaslo mushroom farmer given green light for unique project

Robin Mercy will plant mushrooms in the Kaslo Community Forest

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

Most Read