Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Common Nighthawks

I got out for about an hour this evening and birded the flood plain property. At the north end there were 3 or 4 Common Nighthawks flying low and catching bugs. I took these mediocre pictures of 2 of them. These common summer residents are not really hawks -- they are actually in the nightjar family (like the Whip-poor-will). They have a distinctive buzzy call and you can often see them flying around parking lots at dusk. Their long narrow wings have white patches near the ends, and they have a white throat. Their erratic flight is fun to watch as they rapidly change directions while chasing insects through the air. In this second picture I think the bird's mouth is open and you can just see the bug it's about to swallow. Neat!

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