Thursday, June 30, 2016

Common Nighthawk

I have lived at my home in Jefferson County, Wisconsin since July 2005. I can't remember a summer evening without at least one pair of Common Nighthawks peenting and booming among the din of summer sounds.

In fact in 2009, I returned home to find a Common Nighthawk roosting on a dormer of my house.

Fortunately, this summer is no exception to my trend of having an annual backyard Common Nighthawk. Although my resident Common Nighthawk seemed to have arrived later this year. It wasn't until June 6th, I was confident I was finally seeing and hearing my resident male as opposed t migrants. He had been flying low over my house doing his peenting/booming routine. His aerial displays have continued nightly.

Throughout most of June, I have only heard or seen a single bird. Common Nighthawks are regarded to be in sharp decline, so I was becoming concerned he would go unmated this year.

I have grown into the habit of never taking for granted the sight and sound of Common Nighthawks precisely because of their conservation status. The 2014 State of the Birds listed Common Nighthawk as a common species in steep decline and this year's State of North America's Birds lists Common Nighthawk at a moderate conservation concern level with a continuing population trend of being in steep decline. Of note though Common Nighthawk did not make the 2016 "Watch List." In examining the data I was actually rather stunned by the number of regularly occurring Wisconsin bird species that did!

Last night my concerns at least for this one particular backyard Common Nighthawk were allayed when I observed a pair in synchronous flight. They were peenting to softly to each other in a manner that led me to believe they were pair-bonding. The peents were shorter and of less intensity than I've observed with single birds. I am hopeful the July sky will include their offspring. 

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