Posts Tagged ‘nighthawk’

The Davie Roost has MOVED!

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Apparently the raccoon predation was just too much for the purple martins at the Davie Road Racetrac gas station. They are no longer roosting at that site. I went on Friday night and the few purple martins that flew over head, never came down to the trees. The dead martins on the ground were still there, but no fresh kills. Apparently the roost was abandoned shortly after my visit on Saturday June 13.

Fortunately for all us purple martin lovers, a fellow PMCA forumite “Stingray” was shopping in the area and happened upon the new roost location. It is now located at the “Tower Shops” just South of 595 on the East side of University Drive, in the same plaza as Home Depot. The chances of finding the new roost location is almost a miracle in my book and the disappointment I felt this Friday is now replaced with excitement again. woo hoo! I can’t wait to go and see the new spot. I hope the folks at the Tower Shops greet the purple martins with the same welcome attitude that they enjoyed at Racetrac Gas station. The potential for a negative response is high considering there is no overhead cover to protect any shoppers from the rain of bird poop that they will be experiencing.

I have been ridiculously busy trying to prepare an article for you on emergency care of purple martins…I should say, first responder care of purple martins. I went to Folke Peterson Wildlife Center on Friday and met another one of their wonderful Veterinary Technicians, Faith, who let me photograph the HY purple martin while he was force fed. He is still not accepting food from the hemostats and his outlook is poor. Other than the fact that he is being force fed three times a day and can not fly, he appears calm and comfortable. A perfect gentleman.

Other interesting finds at the Wildlife Center was a Chimney Swift nestling that was brought in recently. Eyes shut and chattering loudly, the little nestling looked so out of place in his box. My heart bleeds for this little guy. For great information on Chimney Swifts and what you can do to help these birds visit ChimneySwift.org  I was shocked to find out that contrary to what I had read on the swifts breeding range, South Florida, the West Palm area to be exact, has a nice little colony of swifts that live out my way. I am eager to convince my husband of the need to put up a Chimney Swift tower! I am so excited for this project for next year. Can you imagine THAT on a webcam?

Another interesting patient at Folke Peterson was a juvenile NightHawk. Which is quite the coincidence considering that I recently wrote a blog entry about these illusive birds that I NEVER thought I would see so close. Like a pet rock, it sat in its cage with its big eyes staring back at me. A curious bird and not very bird looking at all, up close. Faith told me of the odds against rehabilitating this bird and all birds that are strict aerial insectivores. A diet that is never fully able to be replicated, humans can only come up with a fair approximation of the dietary needs of such birds. I hope this one makes it too.

 

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RescueFest at Folke Peterson and a NightHawk

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

The day started out hot and steamy. A very nice lady, Karyn L., I met in Titusville at the 2009 Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, braved the heat to make a second trip to my house to take some pictures of my martins. Of course I am ever proud of my thriving colony in my backyard, so of course she is always welcome. I then had to make last minute preparations for a 1pm presentation on Purple Martins at the Folke Peterson Wildlife Center.

The center was having its RescueFest. A fund raiser to attempt to help save the center during our challenging economic times. Friday night was an adults only event with wine tasting, silent auctions and I heard, great fun was had by all. Saturdays turn out was modest and the highlight for me was meeting a Swallow-tailed kite up close and personal. The girl holding the kite told me, erroneously, that they are exclusively insectivores. I told her of the kite who snatched a dove nestling out of a nest in a tree in the neighbors yard and I had the feeling she thought I was quite wrong. This evening I even double checked my facts and according to my trusty Audubon Field Guide, swallow-tailed kites eat insects and “snatches lizards off the trunks of trees.” So from a lizard to a naked nestling, I don’t consider it a far stretch.

I also saw, tonight at dusk, for the second time in my life a Common Nighthawk. The first time I saw one was last week and I did not know what it was. It was about 6pm and the martins were feeding high above the house and I noticed a bird similar in wing shape but a bit larger and with white wingbars. Its flight was distinct and much different than I had ever seen. Described by Audubon as “fluttery” I though it more pulsing yet irregular. Tonight I heard its distinct call and looked up searching. Knowing that there was enough light to catch a view and sure enough, high above calling its buzzy single note. My husband, as usual, thinks I am quite the “bird nerd” and I proceeded to try and convince him of the importance of this event. He was non-plussed. The Common Nighthawk is probably a bird that many of you have heard but never noticed. In the nightjar family, Nighthawks are related to whippoorwills and are equally odd looking. I always hear them at night in the parking lots of Kmart and the like. Never able to see them due to the darkness, I was always intrigued by the nasal “peent” . For many years I though the sound was that of some kind of frog or insect. Next time you go to the local super center at night, listen for the Common Nighthawk.

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