Montana Official State Travel Site
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Weastern Tanager

One of most familiar bird species in Montana, the killdeer is known best for its acting. In fact, if there were an Oscar award for "Best Dramatic Acting Away from the Nest," the Killdeer would certainly win.

Paridae parus

Killdeer will hobble along on stick-like legs—dragging a wing and tottering as if injured—to draw predators away from their nests. It's no wonder they're so crafty drawing predators away from their nests, when you consider how little preparation actually goes into the actual nests. Killdeer nest on the ground in rocky soil by simply dropping four eggs in the same place. Killdeer like open meadows and the flat shorelines of wetland areas and streams. Despite their name, they do not hunt and dill deer; they dine mainly on ground dwelling insects. Their name is an approximation of their song, which sound like a "kill-dee-dee."