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Birds of St. Croix River Valley: Minnesota and Wisconsin



Whip-poor-will -- Common Nighthawk

Whip-poor-will (Camprimulgus vociferus)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Fairly common migrant throughout the Western Upland and Central Plain, locally common in the Northern Highland. Most records are of birds on breeding territory, rather than actual migrants. Spring migrants arrive 1-5 May and are widely distributed by 10-20 May. Jackson (1942) reported that whip-poor-wills were common at Danbury, Douglas County, during late May 1918. The status of this species in the fall is poorly understood. Whip-poor-wills are quiet during this period and they are almost never reported. Most observations have been made between 20 August and 20 September (latest-22 October 1964, Burnett County).

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common and local nesting species throughout the Central Plain and Northern Highland, uncommon and local in the Western Upland.

Habitat: In the Western Upland, nesting whip-poor-wills are found associated with mixed stands of xeric deciduous and coniferous woods, and in Pine Plantations. In the Central Plain and Northern Highland this species is most common in medium-aged Northern Hardwood Forest, Jack Pine Barren, and Pine Plantations.

Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species.

Migration: Common spring and locally abundant fall migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive 5-10 May and peak abundance occurs 25 May to 5 June. Fall migration begins with flock formation in early August. Peak abundance occurs between 15 August and 1 September and departure by 20 September (latest-7 October 1973 and 8 October 1965, Washington County).

Nesting Season Distribution: A common nesting species in cities and towns, less common and more localized in areas away from human habitation.

Habitat: This species has adapted well to expanding human population. In cities and towns, an abundance of flat roofs and gravel roadways provide excellent breeding habitat. Although nesting habitat away from human habitation is poorly known, most birds are found associated with mixed deciduous-coniferous forest with sandy soils and open (or barren) understory.

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