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

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Langley mom irked at irresponsible people getting vaccinated ahead of front-liners

Government decision to vaccinate people in Whistler not sitting well with some

Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley City mayor urges people to stick to health order rules

Stay strong and support local businesses, says van den Broek

A classic Porsche Speedster replica caught fire on a Langley road around 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Darren Carlson/Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Porsche replica car catches fire on Langley road

Township firefighters responded to the incident on Saturday evening

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives. (Photo: flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
Local agency given more bucks to combat anti-racism

Langley Community Services one of 36 organizations given added funds

Langley Township council passed a tree protection bylaw in 2019, but one resident says the municipality does not do enough to preserve valuable trees. (Black Press Media)
LETTER: Langley Township fails to protect enough trees, writer says

Resident said community should not cut trees then find man-made solutions to mitigate climate impact

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

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

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read