Do Killdeers Abandon Their Eggs?

If you find a bird’s nest on the ground, there’s a good chance it’s a killdeer. These small, brown-and-white plovers are well known for their distinctive nests, which they scrape out of the dirt and line with bits of shells or pebbles. But what happens if these nests are disturbed?

Do killdeers abandon their eggs? It turns out that killdeers will indeed abandon their eggs if they feel like the nest is no longer safe.

This behavior is known as “crying wolf,” and it allows the parents to lead predators away from the nest while sacrificing themselves.

Killdeers are interesting birds. They are known to abandon their eggs if they feel that they are in danger. This is a survival instinct that helps them to keep their young safe from predators.

If you find a killdeer nest, it is best to leave it alone so that the parents can care for their young.

female killdeer guarding

Will Killdeer Abandon Their Eggs If You Touch Them?

Many birdwatchers have had the experience of coming across a nest of killdeer eggs and being warned off by the parent birds. These small, brown-speckled eggs are well-camouflaged on the ground, making them vulnerable to predators—and curious humans.

The myth that touching killdeer eggs will cause the parents to abandon their young has been around for years.

But is there any truth to it? Studies have shown that while killdeer will sometimes move their eggs if they’re disturbed, they usually don’t abandon them altogether.

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In fact, it’s more likely that the parents will simply step back and watch from a distance to see what happens.

So if you do come across a nest of killdeer eggs, go ahead and take a closer look—just be careful not to damage or destroy them in the process.

Do Killdeer Birds Leave Their Eggs?

No, killdeer birds do not leave their eggs. The female will incubate the eggs for 24-28 days until they hatch.

During this time, the male will stand guard nearby to protect the eggs and nest from predators.

How Long Do Killdeers Leave Their Eggs?

Killdeers generally leave their eggs soon after they are laid. The length of time that killdeer will stay with their eggs depends on the temperature and whether the eggs have been incubated.

If the temperature is warm and the eggs have been incubated, killdeer will usually abandon their eggs within a day or two.

However, if the temperature is cooler and the eggs have not been incubated, killdeer may stay with their eggs for up to two weeks.

four killdeer eggs

Do Some Killdeer Eggs Not Hatch?

Yes, some killdeer eggs do not hatch. There are many reasons why this may happen, including poor nutrition, lack of nesting material, predation, and inclement weather.

If the conditions are not ideal for hatching, the eggs may be abandoned or eaten by the parents.

How Many Times a Year Do Killdeer Lay Eggs?

According to most sources, killdeer lay between four and six eggs per year.

However, some sources say that they can lay up to eight eggs per year. The Killdeer is a small plover that is found in North America.

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Birds nests and eggs abandoned because of human smell and touch


It’s a common misconception that killdeers will abandon their eggs if they’re touched by humans. In reality, killdeers are very protective of their nests and will only abandon them if they’re disturbed too much.

If you do find a killdeer nest, it’s best to leave it alone and admire it from a distance.


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