About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Whip-poor-will Cool Facts

Eastern Whip-poor-will via Wikimedia Commons
In Michigan from April to early November, the Whip-poor-will is heard throughout many of the open woodlands in Michigan, but is rarely seen. Their camouflaged plumage, nocturnal hunting, and secretive nesting behavior make them hard to find.

The Whip-poor-will is a member of the nightjar or “goatsucker” family. The name goatsuckers comes from the ancient folk tale that they sucked the milk from goats, causing the goats to go blind.

Cool Facts from https://www.allaboutbirds.org/
- The male’s emphatic, chanted whip-poor-will, sometimes repeated for hours on end, is a classic sound of warm summer nights in the countryside of the East.
- Eastern Whip-poor-wills lay their eggs in phase with the lunar cycle, so that they hatch on average 10 days before a full moon. When the moon is near full, the adults can forage the entire night and capture large quantities of insects to feed to their nestlings.
- Eastern Whip-poor-will chicks move around as nestlings, making it difficult for predators to rob the nest. The parent may help by shoving a nestling aside with its foot, sometimes sending the young bird tumbling head over heels.
- The Eastern Whip-poor-will may locate insects by seeing the bugs’ silhouettes against the sky. Its eyes have a reflective structure behind the retina that is probably an adaptation to low light conditions.

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