PLOVERS

PLOVERS are chunky birds with short, thick necks and large eyes.
They run quickly, stop to pick up food, then dart off again, starting and stopping.
The smaller ones are found near water, although the Killdeer can be found in a variety of areas.

Killdeer (Seen in The Woodlands, TX)

The Killdeer differs from other ringed plovers by having TWO black breast bands instead of one.  
 

The killdeer lays her eggs in fields --  even parking lots like this one --in a shallow scrape in the ground, sometimes lined with a little grass or pebbles. The eggs are large for such a small bird and hatch into well-developed chicks, necessary for such an unprotected nesting site!  (Juveniles have one breast band.)

American Golden Plover
"The American Golden-Plover annually performs one of the longest migrations of any American bird. They fly up to 20,000 miles per year, usually including a nonstop flight of 3,000-3,500 miles over the Atlantic.

"They may be capable of maintaining seeds in their digestive tract to help them survive these long flights.

"Weighing in at less than 0.5 pound, they are considered the fastest flying shorebird, reaching speeds of 60 mph."

(field Guide to Birds of North America)

NON-breeding colors  
Semipalmated Plover

 

A small dark shorebird with a single band across its chest, the Semipalmated Plover is the most common plover seen on migration in most areas.

"Like other plovers, the Semipalmated forages in short bursts-a quick run followed by a stop-during which it scans the sand or mud in front of it for any sign of life before running on. It does not probe like its usual associates, the longer-billed sandpipers. Taking most of their food right from the surface, Semipalmated Plovers prey mainly on small crustaceans and mollusks." (from eNature.com)