Date: 5/20/20 7:34 am
From: Kevin Kubach (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: no more nighthawks
Thanks, Chris. An adult using distraction was my first impression and my
other theory, but the thing that threw me off was that the other two adults
appeared to be tightly associated with the bird I flushed on the ground.
Before and after I flushed the ground bird, the adults were associating
with that particular area when they had thousands of acres of other
appropriate habitat to use. They were already flying around that particular
spot, perching in the pines and giving what I now perceive as alarm calls
(heard in the recordings...not the "wheer" calls but the others?); after I
flushed the other bird, they continued to stay nearby, calling and
perching, and even "zeroing in" on the flushed bird several minutes later
after it had flown about 75 yards away to a different spot. I don't know
what kind of social networks Nighthawks form, but maybe they just didn't
like me threatening their buddy?

I haven't had a chance to research their breeding cycle to see if the
timing even makes sense for that to have been a juvenile; nor have I been
able to determine this by its plumage (nor qualified...just a fish guy who
really likes birds).


On Wed, May 20, 2020 at 10:18 AM Christopher Hill <Chill...> wrote:

> Kevin,
> I’m no nighthawk expert, but it seems much more likely you saw an adult
> doing a distraction display than a juvenile (why would a juvenile do that?
> But adult ground nesters of many groups do distraction displays.).
> I think sandy areas whether associated with coastal dunes or open longleaf
> are native nesting habitats here. Gravel rooftops are manmade substitutes
> for bare sand, for nighthawks and least terns and kildeer and, in Great
> Britain, Oystercatchers. Those three habitats are where I hear and see
> nighthawks (urban places with gravel roofs, coastal islands, occasionally
> in longleaf).
> Chris Hill
> Conway, SC
> On May 20, 2020, at 10:14 AM, Kevin Kubach <kmkubach...> wrote:
> CAUTION: This email originated from outside your organization. Exercise
> caution when opening attachments or clicking links, especially from unknown
> senders.
> Chris et al.,
> Thanks for this interesting discussion on Nighthawks. I don't have
> extensive experience with them, but I wanted to share an observation. On
> the several occasions I have visited the Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage
> Preserve in Aiken Co., SC (at various times from spring through summer), I
> have seen multiple Nighthawks in various phases of their breeding cycle.
> This is a tract managed for what I would describe as a longleaf pine
> "scrubland"--not the classic longleaf-wiregrass savanna, but open longleaf
> with a scrubbier, sandier floor. It still supports Red-cockaded Woodpeckers
> and Bachman's Sparrows--the longleaf associates. Nighthawks seem to thrive
> there. Last week I observed an adult pair with what appeared to be a
> juvenile (I would appreciate any thoughts based on the photos and
> observations as described in my checklist, here:
> <*3A*2F**2Fchecklist*2FS68992572&data=02*7C01*7Cchill**7C914e31a66a404e5f652308d7fcc8036e*7Cbf1f856b8ef84e52be9387d3c3622797*7C0*7C0*7C637255808294853142&sdata=JG86FItuZeB8tFBCEdLZXZ82*2Fv8oO0ndEUCcJxFeEO4*3D&reserved=0__;JSUlJSUlJSUlJSUlJSUl!!OToaGQ!7CiSQC7m-opSkBx2iktuIWxvCWIa9pmS66fVkN1ZgTOZ8lCQ0qdKtx3fv5JLt0Ojiyo$ >
> ).
> Are Nighthawks perhaps one of the many species dependent in part, in the
> southeast, on the open landscapes provided by longleaf savannas, which we
> all know have been reduced to a tiny fraction of their previous extent?
> Kevin Kubach
> Greenville, SC
> On Wed, May 20, 2020 at 9:47 AM Parkin Hunter <carolinabirds...>
> wrote:
>> I have been wondering about the loss of rock roofs also. There are almost
>> none at Garden City now. When my father built my house in 1962 they were
>> everywhere (I am an offender.) The dock next to me had a flat, rock roof
>> that the birds used to break things open. Gone now.
>> Parkin Hunter
>> Sent from my iPad
>> > On May 20, 2020, at 9:18 AM, Christopher Hill (via carolinabirds
>> Mailing List) <carolinabirds...> wrote:
>> >
>> > I’ve been living in Conway, SC near Coastal Carolina University since
>> 1999 and every spring the nighthawks come back, and by late April, when I
>> take my ornithology class on an all day field trip, I always hear the
>> nighthawks calling over campus as I wait for the students to show up for
>> the 7 am van ride to the coast. In the evenings I hear them over our house
>> and when we go for walks, and at the local Food Lion parking lot. But not
>> this year. They never showed up, for the first time I can remember. Maybe
>> it’s that a gravel rooftop they nested on was upgraded to rubber membrane
>> and they couldn’t find a nearby replacement, or maybe it’s a small local
>> piece of the overall decline in nightjars and in aerial insectivores
>> generally, but even though I’m not yet sure it’s a permanent, I thought I
>> would note the disappearance here.
>> >
>> > Chris Hill
>> > Conway, SC

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