Finding Roosting Common Nighthawks

Common Nighthawk

. Common Nighthawk at Montrose, August 21, 2021 (click to see the larger version)

Migrant Common Nighthawks are starting to show up in the Chicago area. We usually see large numbers of them, sometimes in the hundreds or more, moving south in late afternoon and evening in late August and early September. Seeing one perched is a different matter. Like other nightjars, Common Nighthawks are cryptically colored and when they perch they don’t move, all but disappearing. A good way to find them is to examine bare, horizontal tree limbs on trees that don’t have a lot of leaves. I’ve used this method with some success at Montrose. You may have to look at a lot of trees to find a roosting nighthawk but the effort will be worth it when you find one. They’re also easy to photograph.