12 July 2007

Common Nighthawk

We were just finishing our tree frog monitoring and heading back to the building when we flushed a common nighthawk from the ground. She immediately started performing a broken wing display so I scanned the area for her eggs but to no avail. She seemed agitated so we left her, but I promised I would be back to look for her "nest."

Nighthawks don't build a typical nest. They prefer to lay their eggs directly on gravel or a clear dirt area. When I returned today I didn't find any eggs. Better yet, I found the babies directly under this cypress tree.

You can see them huddled together here. The mother sits on them to keep them cool during the heat of the day. She wasn't too happy with me looking at her babies so close. Here's a rough picture of her on the ground as she watched me inspect her young.

After I photographed her little ones to my heart's content, I allowed her to lead me away. She circled back and kept her distance from them as I walked back to the office. This place never ceases to amaze me!

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