While I took its picture, it sat making a low grunting noise. I had been hearing this species calling from the woods every spring for the last 12 years, but this was the first I had ever clearly seen. I was looking at my first Chuck-will’s-widow.
Even though I hadn’t been looking directly at
the bird when it flushed, I was sure it had come from somewhere in this
area. I snapped this picture in order to
have a reference image. My plan was to
make a quick search for the nest and the image would help me get back on the
proper line if I had to detour around any fallen branches or other obstacles.
I also didn’t want to keep the bird long from
its eggs. My search was carefully
conducted in a slow rush.
When I first moved here, the
spring nights were full of the calls of Whip-poor-wills, a close relative to
the Chuck-will’s-widow. When the call of
a Chuck woke me at three in the morning twelve years ago, I hurried outside and
spent a half hour listening to it sing.
Since then, Chuck numbers continue to increase while Whips are on the
I was quickly away
and I’m sure the eggs were covered shortly after my departure. Incubation for this species is 20 days, so
I’ll stay away long enough to let the eggs hatch in peace. I’ll go back after that to see if I can find
remnants of the hatched eggs.
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