Join us for A Nighthawk Watch at Washington Tower in 2018!
The Nighthawk is a member of the nightjar family which include the Whip-poor-will. All members of this family are rather cryptic in color with tiny bills and huge mouths. Join us for a Nighthawk Watch this summer at Washington Tower:
The flight of the nighthawk is unmistakable as it wheels erratically chasing insects. The Nighthawk nests most often on open cultivated fields, gravel beaches, rocky outcrops and burned over woodlands. It is also well known to nest on flat gravel roof tops especially in cities. Locally birds have nested in a number of different places in Cambridge and Somerville as well as the Back Bay and South End sections of Boston. The roofs of many of these buildings have been converted to rubber and are no longer appealing to the nighthawks.
The fall migration of Common Nighthawks is one of the more “visible” aspects of bird migration. From mid August up into the first weeks of September thousands of migrating nighthawks pass through Massachusetts on their way south. The larger flocks tend to be west of Boston with especially high counts in the Connecticut River Valley.
The Boston area is on the fringe of their migration and much fewer numbers are recorded south of Boston – however 432 birds were counted from the top of Washington Tower at Mount Auburn on August 22, 2000 (in fact, there was just one day – August 18, 2008 that no birds were counted).