Friday, October 12, 2012

Common Nighthawk

Nighthawk numbers are falling. The birds are considered to be imperiled in most of New England. Declines of about 50% are reported from Canada, where the species is listed as Threatened. Pesticides and habitat destruction are the most likely causes. Another factor may be that architects no longer favor flat gravel city roofs. Nighthawks often nest on such roofs, as well as on the ground on gravel beaches, outcrops, and burned-over woodlands. A nest is not made, the eggs being laid directly on the ground (Brigham et al. 2011). These authors further comment that the name nighthawk is "inappropriate...because it is most active at dawn and dusk, not night, and...not related to the hawks."

This photo was taken several years ago near Pierre, South Dakota. Although I was on the lookout in Minnesota, and although birders in the state reported seeing many nighthawks, I did not seen a Common Nighthawk this year.

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