Our bird of the month for October is the Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus). Killdeer are a species of plover, which are a type of shorebird. Shorebirds are birds known for spending time near bodies of water foraging for food. Killdeer do not limit themselves to lakes and streams and can be found at many locations, such as gardens, athletic fields and golf courses.
Killdeer get their name from their shrill peep-like calls. When they feel threatened, especially if you are approaching their nest, they will prance around calling wildly to distract predators. They also perform the broken-wing act (photo on right), encouraging you to chase them before flying off in a clean getaway.
Currently, Killdeer may be found in Rancho San Rafael Park and at the shores of Virginia Lake.
Information from All About Birds and Audubon
Our September Bird of the Month is the Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli). Mountain Chickadees are commonly found at higher elevations, especially within evergreen forests. They are often seen in pine trees, plucking seeds from the cones for a snack. Listen for their “chicka-dee-dee-dee” calls year round.They are also sometimes called the “cheeseburger” bird because their song is easily remembered as a repetitious “cheeseburger, cheeseburger.”
What distinguishes a Mountain Chickadee from their Black-Capped cousins is the Mountain’s signature black eye stripe within their white eye stripe.
Mountain Chickadees can be a common backyard bird and are easily attracted if you put up a bird feeder. They love seeds, especially sunflower seeds, because they can easily store them in a cache among the trees and bushes nearby as food for the winter.
If you do not have a bird feeder, Mountain Chickadees are found usually on mountain trails in the Sierras. Because of Reno’s high elevation (4,500 ft), they sometimes visit our local parks such as Idlewild or Rancho San Rafael.
Information from All About Birds.