Eastern Whippoorwill

Mexican Whip-poor-will b13-37-325_VRecently Tom and I have enjoyed hearing a new bird call:  the Eastern Whippoorwill.  Generally I love hearing the birds, especially early in the morning.  And when the Eastern Whippoorwill first migrated back to our area, we were fascinated by its noisy (really loud) cry.  The bird is named after it’s song.  It sounds like it is saying “whip-poor-will” over and over.  You can hear it here – be sure to turn the volume UP.  But the novelty has worn off.

Whippoorwills are small – smaller than your palm – brown, white, and gray birds.  They are nocturnal, which means they start singing at sunset.  About 15 minutes after the sun sets, the whippoorwill in our area start singing.  They are territorial, so if another whippoorwill is wandering into the territory set by our resident bird, the cries get even louder and closer together.  The “song” of the whippoorwill is also used to attract a mate.  Because the birds are nocturnal and also blend in very well to the dead leaves and tree trunks where they like to nest, I guess the male thinks the female will find him if he keeps repeating his song endlessly.  I read on Audubon.org that one researcher counted over 1,000 calls by one individual male in an evening.  The one that is living close to us is not that persistent, which we are counting as a blessing.

The problem for me is the whippoorwill in the morning.  I like having the windows open at night, and the whippoorwill in our area starts “singing” about 5:30 every morning.  I like to get up early, but 5:30 is ridiculous!  I don’t have to set my alarm clock anymore because I am awakened by this guy every morning.

According to the migration chart, whippoorwills are common in Ohio, but I don’t remember hearing one before.  I think I would remember.

All God’s creatures are wonderfully made.  The whippoorwill in our area has been a delight – just not at 5:30 in the morning!