Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nighttime Music


Chuck-Will's Widow.

Our Whipporwill's returned the end of March this year. Several weeks earlier than usual. I really should keep a nature/gardening journal so I can trace these seasonal events, but I am very lax. I know that several years ago, they returned on April 17.

"Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Nightjars are sometimes referred to as goatsuckers from the mistaken belief that they suck milk from goats (the Latin for goatsucker is Caprimulgus). Some North American species are named as nighthawks.
Nightjars are found around the world. They are mostly active in the late evening and early morning or at night, and feed predominantly on moths and other large flying insects.
Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically coloured to resemble bark or leaves. Some species, unusually for birds, perch along a branch, rather than across it. This helps to conceal them during the day.
The Common Poorwill, Phalaenoptilus nuttallii is unique as a bird that undergoes a form of hibernation, becoming torpid and with a much reduced body temperature for weeks or months.
Nightjars lay one or two patterned eggs directly onto bare ground." Wikipedia

The first night that they return, there is a general excitement here at the cabin. "The Whippoorwill's are back!" We stand in the yard, closing our eyes, listening to their distinctive call, repeating with them "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will". By evening of the second night, you make sure that your windows are closed and a fan is going so you can sleep. There is a reason that they are called nightjars! After a while, you find yourself chanting, "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will," over and over and over.

Last night another bird friend and close cousin of the Whippoorwill returned. The Chuck-will's widow. He is a little larger than the Whipporrwill and shout's "Chuck-will's-widow" all night long. Needless to say, we don't get much sleep some nights!

My parents live next door. They both have hearing problems, so they purchased a baby monitor for their cat. He comes to their front door and meows when he wants something. The baby monitor picks up his calls and lets them know that he is there. My mom told me that they've had to shut the baby monitor off. They couldn't stand hearing the Whippoorwill!

Hope all of you got a good nights rest!


"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24


  1. Rosemary, such a wonderful post and delightful pictures too.

    I always luv to find out more of the birds from other shores and your educational info was a delight to read.

    Like your parents I too am hearing impaired - which means I do enjoy a good night's sleep. However, I so luv hearing the birds in my garden as soon as soon as I switch on my hearing aids - they are a joy to hear and like you I really must make a journal of their visits and varieties.

    Thank you so much for your posting.

    Blessings to you all.

  2. Are those the same as Night Hawks? Thats what we have here and they only come out at night? Nice pictures.

  3. I've only heard a whippoorwill once in my life, to know what I was hearing. We lived in a mountain area of Western NC for a few years, and one of my coworkers was very interested in birds and nature. Once we were out visiting a patient and she heard a whippoorwill and pointed it out to me. I've never heard that sound again.

  4. I love hearing a whip o will...it's been way too long since I've heard one though!

  5. I love to hear whippoorwills at night, a summer pleasure I look forward to each year! Nice photos!

  6. RM,
    Ilove hearing the birds in the morning, well whenever really. Such a cheerful sound. I have two bird feeders, so we have lots of birds about.
    Love the baby monitor idea, I can just see the kitty sitting there.
    I will be mailing you a little something tomorrow so go stand by your mailbox.

  7. Your nighttime bird sounds so pleasant. All I have is that "bleepidy-bleep-bleep" (LOL)noisy mockingbird that kept me awake my first night in this house, :-)


  8. We don't have Whippoorwills nearby, but just a few shot miles north, our friends have several. Whippoorwill is part of the name of their road, in fact! I love the sound of a Whippoorwill.

    You have a lovely blog. I hope to return often.

    Back Porch Musings

  9. "My mom told me that they've had to shut the baby monitor off. They couldn't stand hearing the Whippoorwill!"

    Oh that is so cute!