Date: 8/25/18 1:04 pm
From: bob augustine <augustinebob8...>
Subject: [MDBirding] More on Nighthawks
Common Nighthawks (CONI) migrate through our area between Aug. 20 and Sept. 5. Any evening may produce a few, but there is usually one day with a big flight.
It begins around 4 or 5 with flocks of up to 30 birds traveling N or NW just above the treetops. The flight proceeds steadily. If you're not watching continuously, you could easily miss a flock. Each passes in 30-60 seconds. At about 6 the flocks collect and mill about for about half an hour before turning S. Then the birds dodge around catching bugs as they fly. As it gets dark, a few will be attracted to insects around bright lights like the Washington Monument or the Air Force Memorial. This description applies throughout their migratory corridor in the northeast. Daily counts have been established in New England.
Recent years' flights here have turned up only a few hundred at best, but historically there used to be more. The flight sometimes is diverted west of here and then we don't get as many. One thing is for sure, like Broad-winged Hawks, Golden Eagles, and Blue Jays, most are Canadian.
Some people think Nighthawks follow river valleys, but this has not been proven. There is some evidence that movements are more likely right after a cold front (next Wed. night?) They winter throughout South America.

Bob Augustine

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