Nightjars are the most enigmatic family of birds in North America, and among the most peculiar in the world. Their reclusive nature makes them very difficult to study. Nightjars are nocturnal, or crepuscular birds. In the evenings, they feed on the wing by snapping up flying insects. They typically nest and rest on the ground during the day, where their cryptic plumage keeps them well camouflaged.
Though notoriously difficult to spot, Nightjars are easily identified by their distinct calls on warm, moonlit evenings. You can hear the songs of North Carolina’s three resident Nightjars—Chuck-will’s-widow, Eastern Whip-poor-will, and Common Nighthawk—here:
This summer, volunteers across the country participated in the annual Nightjar Survey sponsored by the Nightjar Survey Network. This national initiative is entirely dependent on volunteers who go out to pre-determined sites in their states, cities, and towns to listen for Nightjars. The data is then uploaded to the Nightjar Survey Network website. You can see survey data from previous years and read about the Nightjar Survey on our blog.
Thanks again to anyone who volunteered their time!