Sunday, June 6, 2010

Finally, Caprimulgus vociferus

Lars has been patiently waiting for the whippoorwill to come back. I was starting to lament its' absence this spring, but I was rewarded with his cry this past evening. I have lived at my house in Stow for now a third spring, and I hear the bird calling from the exact same location for the third year. They fly in the twilight with mouths open to catch insects (in French - "Engoulevent bois-pourri" or "air guzzler").

The bird calls at a very specific time of the late twilight. Last summer, I remembered it being about 9:45p (I'm sleeping too soundly in the early AM to hear the sunrise calls). This evening, it started at 9:30p. This should go later as the summer solstice approaches. The bird calls more with the full moon, as well. Eggs are laid about two weeks before the full moon, so that the adults can hunt more effectively in the moonlight and supply the new chicks with needed food.

I have attached video from two years ago, when three people came out for a visit from Mass Audubon after I had reported it on their website. The video was in the second week of June 08. My earliest recording is 5/14/08.

I am expecting him to become a nightly regular again. If anyone is interested, I can host.... Lars


  1. That's really exciting, Lars! I had no idea that whippoorwill existed anywhere around here.

  2. Years ago when we lived in Boylston, Richard and I were awakened early one morning by a whippoorwill which was very loud - apparently quite close to the house. It took some effort on my part to convince Richard that it was in fact a bird, and not the car alarm he believed it to be.