It's time for the annual Nightjar Survey, North Carolina! We are looking for volunteers who can dedicate a single night to listening for Nightjar calls during our May 25th - June 8th and June 25th - July 8th survey windows. This survey is sponsored by the Nightjar Survey Network, a national initiative organized by The Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University, along with partner organizations at state and local levels. The survey effort is entirely dependent on volunteer participation. If you are interested in helping biologists learn more about these amazing birds, please contact us, or visit the Nightjar Survey Network website for information.
What is a Nightjar?
Nightjars are the most enigmatic family of birds in North America, and among the most peculiar in the world. Little is known about their biology, as their reclusive nature makes them difficult to study. They typically nest and rest on the ground, where their cryptic plumage keeps them well camouflaged. They are nocturnal, or crepuscular, and feed on large, flying insects. Though notoriously difficult to spot, Nightjars are easily identified by their distinct calls on warm, moonlit evenings. The resident Nightjar species in North Carolina are the Common Nighthawk, Chuck-will's-widow, and Eastern Whip-poor-will--pictured above.
If you are able to learn the calls of these three species, and would like to dedicate an evening to helping scientists learn more about these fascinating birds, then please consider volunteering! There are still several available survey routes across the state.