Chordeiles minor

| 14 Comments

Photograph by Dave Rintoul.

Photography contest, Honorable Mention.

rintoul_nighthawk.jpg

Chordeiles minor – common nighthawk, resting on a fence post on the Konza Prairie Biological Station near Manhattan, Kansas.

14 Comments

This bird has one of the coolest nesting behaviors in the animal kingdom. They pick out a spot, fly overhead and repeatedly power dive from 100 feet or so down to maybe ten feet. When they pull out of the dive, their feathers go “vroom.” Great fun to watch.

They don’t really suckle on goats.

These guys are also responsible for UFO sightings when they tuck their heads in, dive at incredibly high speed and do 90 degree turns. It is spectacular to watch a bunch of them performing at dusk. I remember seeing a perfect drawing of one (wings with single white bars, no apparent head) a number of years back that a person was touting as a UFO. Tried to search on google, but there is too much babble about F-117 Nighthawk plane being confused with UFOs.

WKM

I always enjoyed it when the nighthawks began to soar and feed on a warm, still evening. If you watch closely and listen you’ll notice that there is a relationship between their wing beats and flight path and their calls. They’ll dive shallowly in a glide and then pull up, slowing and then a few rapid wing beats followed by a rather haunting, reedy couplet. One of my earliest memories of animal behavior that I observed myself before I knew anyone else knew.

They also appear to be having one hell of a good time while flying, occasionally performing impressive acrobatics for no apparent reason. ‘Course, from my vantage I can’t see the insects they’re chasing. And on the ground they simply disappear.

I never witnessed their booming dive behavior but the day a Rufus hummingbird did it three feet from my face got circled on the calendar! Loud!!

I really appreciate Dave Rintoul’s photography, especially his photos of birds. I’ve learned to identify a few new species of local birds just from his work.

Thanks Dave!

What do you mean that they do not suckle on goats?

Nighthawks do not roost on fence posts. Someone obviously glued a stuffed specimen in place for the picture. Everyone knows this is true about nighthawk roosting behavior at least 70% of the time. Goat herders beware.

Ron Okimoto said:

What do you mean that they do not suckle on goats?

Nighthawks do not roost on fence posts. Someone obviously glued a stuffed specimen in place for the picture. Everyone knows this is true about nighthawk roosting behavior at least 70% of the time. Goat herders beware.

Goatsuckers do not suckle goats: you’re thinking of milk snakes.

Goatsuckers suck the blood of goats, except in Mexico, where that ecological niche is occupied by the chupacabra.

Stanton said: Goatsuckers suck the blood of goats, except in Mexico, where that ecological niche is occupied by the chupacabra.

If Matt posts a picture of a live chupacabra we’ll really be impressed!

Paul Burnett said:

Stanton said: Goatsuckers suck the blood of goats, except in Mexico, where that ecological niche is occupied by the chupacabra.

If Matt posts a picture of a live chupacabra we’ll really be impressed!

Once, I thought I saw the chupacabra, but, it turned out to be Phyllis Diller with her hair down.

If Matt posts a picture of a live chupacabra we’ll really be impressed!

I reckon he’ll just have to settle for that movie that documented one of those creatures. Although since it ended with the ship sinking, one could say he missed the boat.

If Matt posts a picture of a live chupacabra we’ll really be impressed!

Can’t fool me - that’s a character in L’Apollon de Bellac.

Stanton said:

Paul Burnett said:

Stanton said: Goatsuckers suck the blood of goats, except in Mexico, where that ecological niche is occupied by the chupacabra.

If Matt posts a picture of a live chupacabra we’ll really be impressed!

Once, I thought I saw the chupacabra, but, it turned out to be Phyllis Diller with her hair down.

How did you tell if her hair was down?

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

I love caprimulgiforms! Yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in person. I used to live in a valley town with big flocks of night birds I assumed were nighthawks, but recently found out they’re too large to have been my night birds.

As for cattle mutilation, the recent raven attacks in the UK take the bloody horrific cake. I also only recently found out about what the kea can do to a sheep, and about vampire finches. It makes me wonder how many predatory psitticaforms there are.

I heart Birds 4evAr!!! They can be the death of me for all I care.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on April 12, 2010 12:00 PM.

We’ll Be Back was the previous entry in this blog.

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