Date: 5/20/20 7:44 am
From: John Connors (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: no more nighthawks
Common Nighthawks seem to have disappeared as a breeding species in
Raleigh, North Carolina. Twenty years ago we used to consistently find them
flying over downtown Raleigh at several locations during the summer, but we
have not seen them for at least the last five years. There are still a
number of flat-roofed buildings with gravel, including those where we
suspect they were nesting (based on observation of courtship displays), so
nesting opportunities doesn't seem to be the problem. Fewer insects,
possibly; but some of us suspect increased predation from an increasing
population of Cooper's Hawk and Fish Crow in the urban setting might have
done them in. But who knows?
The sound of nighthawks used to be a part of the experience of dining out
on a summer's evening. You don't know what you've got til its gone. Sad.
John Connors
Raleigh, NC

On Wed, May 20, 2020 at 10:19 AM Christopher Hill <carolinabirds...>

> 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!7OaV-KeukPKvhG2Wcsi9LULizbCvumVWE_qMDY7QY4WJuyT7GWdd_B9mcmiLyExoEu0$>
> ).
> 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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