I love listening to nightjars of all types, their strange calls being among my favorite voices of the night. Who is not moved by the musical whistles of Whip-poor-wills, Chuck-will’s-widows, and Poorwills, the buzzy peents of Common Nighthawks, the toadlike trills of Lesser Nighthawks, and the nasal purr-weers of Common Parauques?
One of my all-time favorite nightjar recordings is one made by my friend Ted Mack. The date was May 17, 2006. Ted and I drove to a remote area in the Adirondacks, arriving at our destination at 4:30am. As soon as we got out of car, we heard a Common Nighthawk giving nasal peent calls and periodically diving and booming as Green Frogs and Spring Peepers sounded off from a nearby pond. Ted fumbled with his gear in the parking lot while I sprinted down the road in order to get under the calling bird. But as soon as I turned on my recorder, the bird shifted its activity to Ted’s position, and Ted raked in the gold:
Common Nighthawk peents and booms, 4:30am, 17 May 2006, Adirondack Mountains near Paul Smiths, NY. Recording by Ted Mack.