Chuck-will’s Lullaby

photo of Chuck-will's-widow by Brian SmallHaving just posted a music+nature piece with Chuck-will’s-widow in the background, I’ve decided to follow it up with a recording of just the Chuck-will’s, singing against a backdrop of insect songs. This is yet another jewel collected by my friend Ted Mack during a visit to Everglades National Park in 1994.

For your information, the Chuck-will’s-widow is a member of the Nightjar family. It is a close relative of the Whip-poor-will. Chuck-will’s are common night-singers in the southern states, preferring sandy pine woods habitat. Whip-poor-will’s, which sound a little different, are more familiar and are more northern in distribution. Many people confuse the songs of the two.

Chuck-will’s-widows singing in a pine woods, with a backdrop of insect songs and occasional hoots of a Barred Owl. 11pm, 16 May 1994, Everglades National Park. Recorded by Ted Mack.

This recording once again demonstrates that some birds sound better when recorded at a distance. We have many in-your-face examples of Chuck-will’s, but this one appeals most to my sensibilities. The main singer is far enough away for his reverberant song to fall lightly on the ears, yet he is close enough to stand out in comparison to several other Chuck-will’s singing way off in the distance. The Barred Owls add variety to the recording. The insect chorus also sounds nice, and I believe its level is okay (those of you with excellent high-frequency hearing can tell me if I should bring the insects down a bit in loudness).

Let me know what you think. This track will be included in a title called “Everglades Soundscape,” due out in a couple of months. My notion is to trim it to about five or six minutes, so that it doesn’t go on for too darned long (personally, I could listen to a soundscape like this for a half hour or more without ever getting bored).


  1. Love the Chuck-Will’s Widows and the Barred Owl. Also hear many Jumping Bush Crickets, a Bullfrog, some sort of flying insect, probably a mosquito, and Northern Cricket Frogs.

    This year in Michigan, a Chuck-Will’s Widow was sighted, which is a bit north of their range.

  2. I love this recording. It’s perfect, and I have linked this page to my 4-5-12 blogpost referring to a chuck-wills-widow that sings in my neighborhood at night. It’s because of your recordings that I was able to learn it was a chuck-wills and not just a whipporwill. I just knew there was that “extra little chuck sound in there”. I too could listen for a long time to the night sounds with total pleasure. Thanks for your work, and for sharing it here.

  3. Thank you so much for the total enjoyment that comes with your recordings. I love to listen and watch nature. I have had several experiences in my life that I would not trade. Including walking in the woods with my father and a deer got out of bed right in front of us and I was able to touch it. Thats how close it was. I have been saving all your recordings.

  4. Glorious recording. I could listen to this for hours. I love the dimensionality of this recording – a nice wide sound stage. Now if I only knew all of those Florida singing insects 🙂

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