Overrun by Nightjars!

Posted Apr 21st, 2009 at 6:57 pm in Birding, Photography

Don’t you just hate it when your carport gets overrun with an infestation of nightjars? I know I do.

But this is just what happened when I stepped out to the car this morning. The poor thing had gotten confused and was flying upwards, encountering only the hazy image of the world outside through the fiberglass windows.

Common Poorwill

I knew it wasn’t a Chuck-will’s-widow (they’re insanely large1), but I needed to be certain it wasn’t a Whip-poor-will (a find indeed for west Texas). A quick look in the book (with the bird in hand no less!), and I was satisfied that it was the more expected of the three — Common Poorwill. (Though not my best picture ever.)

Unable to find a box, a frantic search for a suitable transport container ensued. I settled on a T-shirt strategically folded to close the openings. After a short drive through residential streets (forgetting no more than one stop sign), I released it under the bushes at a local cemetery.

Common Poorwill

1 I was once on a pelagic trip 80 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico when we saw a large dark bird flying low over the water’s surface. For a moment we thought it was a shearwater, but it never glided and no one could figure out what it was. When we finally got close enough, it turns out it was a Chuck-will’s-widow.

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2 Responses to “Overrun by Nightjars!”

  1. Man, some people have all the luck. Nightjars are darn near impossible to see.


  2. Nice! My neighbor accidentally woke one up from its nap earlier in the month (late last month? – eh, it’s in the BCAS blog) and because it wasn’t feisty enough to fly on its own, it went in to the zoo for rehab. Two days of mealworms and crickets later, it went back to wreaking havoc upon the area moths.

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