Thursday, June 18, 2009

Juvenile Common Nighthawks

Last year, Dan Adamski sent along a wonderful series of photos documenting the successful nesting of Common Nighthawks on a rooftop of one of the University of Toledo buildings. They're back, Dan's back, and once again he's a gent for allowing me to share his photos. CLICK HERE and you can revisit one of those posts;use the blog's search engine and you can find them all.

Mrs. Bullbat sits tight on gravel rooftop of the University of Toledo Medical Center. This, now, is the preferred nesting substrate of nighthawks over much of their range. They will also use large river gravel bars, extensive burned over forested areas, and sparsely vegetated gravelly soil areas. "Bullbat" is one of their unusual nicknames.

Front on view, showing the bold horizontal striping characteristic of Common Nighthawk. I think she's got something to hide...

This great shot by Dan shows the conspicuous white wing flash.

OK, here they are - two tiny nighthawks! Yes, they are cute. These youngsters can't be but a few days old, and are still heavily downy. The mother is very attentive, and nightjars such as this can be surprisingly aggressive in defending their nests.

In a bit tighter on the juveniles. Nighthawks feed by catching insects on the wing; not an easy thing to learn so these guys have a steep learning curve ahead of them. Sometime in August or September, they'll leave Ohio and head south - way south. Nighthawks winter in South America.
Thanks again to Dan for sharing these great photos!


Kathie Brown said...

I love, love, love nighthawks! I've read about their decline in the Northeast. I have both lesser and common nihgthawks in Arizona. When I see them fly they make my heart take wing! Hurray for the University of Toledo!

Vickie said...

Terrific images. I love that second one with the down of the youngsters poking out from under her breast. An unexpected delight to see this. I have seen nighthawks in flight several times around the office as I leave. I really had not thought that they might be nesting on top of the building!

Heather said...

What a delightful series of photos. One of these days I hope to come across a nightjar in person.
It must be quite difficult for those species that eat solely on the wing to learn how to catch their food. Birds certainly do accomplish some amazing things!

When you have some time, I've got a floral post over on my blog I'd like you to look at ("Lunchtime nature walk") - I've got some tricky plant IDs that I'd love your help with! Thanks.

Dawn Fine said...

Great photos!
I so want one of those fluff balls!
thanks for all the great info!

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