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

Salmon Arm Homes for Rent/Sale Etc. is a popular Facebook page used by those with places for rent and people in need of them. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Carpenter building homes in Salmon Arm unable to find place to rent

Property manager says it’s easier to find work in Salmon Arm than a place to live

Salmon Arm City Hall is closing between noon and 2 p.m. effective April 12, 2021. (File photo)
Pandemic precautions change hours at Salmon Arm city hall

Public will still be able to access services online during two hours when facility closed

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
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A five-storey, 60-unit building has been proposed for 8709 Jubilee Rd. E., Summerland. The proposal will be the subject of a public hearing on March 22. (Image by GTA Architecture)
Zoning, OCP amendments adopted for Summerland housing development

Council gives final readings for controversial five-storey, 60-unit housing development

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

Most Read