[CT Birds] Surveying WHIP-POOR-WILL'S

Linda & Steve Broker ls.broker at cox.net
Mon Apr 16 17:35:26 EDT 2007


Regarding Whip-poor-will, area birding expertise holds that this  
species shows up on territory at the Lake Wintergreen red maple  
swamp, Hamden, CT (the Lake Wintergreen parcel of West Rock Ridge  
State Park) by April 18.  Calling begins at twilight to early  
darkness.  I think it's accurate to say that newly arriving migrants  
are easier to document than are nesting birds.  By the time of our  
summer bird counts, the first or second week in June, the Whip-poor- 
wills tend to kick in with their calls by ca. 9:00 P.M..  If you  
don't have a copy of the January 2005 issue of The Connecticut  
Warbler, which contains Greg Hanisek's "Connecticut Birds by the  
Season," you should pick this publication up (through COA or at one  
of our fine bird supply stores).  The chart for Whip-poor-will shows  
breeding occurring from circa the second week in May through circa  
the first week in July.

On Cape Cod, Whip-poor-wills do call well into summer, although the  
populations here have decline significantly in the last half  
century.  One is more likely to hear them these days from Atlantic  
White Cedar Swamps than from their former distributions in Pitch Pine- 
Scrub Oak forests.  In my childhood, the calling of Whip-poor-will  
signaled the time for my brother and me to go to bed.  Eight o'clock  
was the usual time for singing to begin.  (Of course, it gets dark  
earlier on the Outer Cape than it does in Connecticut.)  I suspect  
that in my old age, any remaining forest birds will again signal  

Good luck with your survey work.  You have an opportunity to gather  
some important information about this Connecticut "Special Concern"  

Steve Broker

On Apr 16, 2007, at 10:07 AM, <snaketat at cox.net> <snaketat at cox.net>  

> I need to survey an area in Eastern CT for Whip-poor-wills.  There  
> are historical records of them in the area I am surveying.  I know  
> they will be arriving soon but when is the optimal time (dates)  to  
> start looking/listening for them.  Also, do Whip-poor-wills still  
> vocalize once the eggs are laid?  Do they vocalize throughout the  
> summer as well?  Typically what is the best time of day to listen  
> for them?  What conditions do the prefer (full moon, no moon,  
> etc.)?  Any information will be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks,
> Brian Kleinman
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