On September 10, 2009 the Eastern Whip-poor-will (Antrostomus vociferus) was added to the list of Species at Risk in Ontario; its “threatened” status means it is likely to become endangered if steps are not taken to protect it. Why is it so threatened? One of the main threats is loss of habitat.
The Eastern Whip-poor-will is a member of the nightjar family. It can be 22-26 cm in length and its body is covered with a mosaic of brown, black and gray feathers. It is a difficult bird to spot as it is nocturnal and its plumage blends in with its surroundings. Because it is so well camouflaged, it is heard more often than it is seen. In Ontario, a person is more likely to hear the Eastern Whip-poor-will's distinctive call during the months of June and July, at dawn or at dusk, when they are most active.
During the day the Eastern Whip-poor-will roosts in trees where it rests or sleeps. The trees on which it perches are near open woodlands located within mature forests of either a deciduous, coniferous or mixed nature. At night it perches on the forest floor near clearings and wetlands waiting for opportunities to prey on insects and moths, its main diet. The forest floor is also where the female will lay her eggs, usually two of them. By placing them under shady, trees and on fallen, dead leaves it makes it difficult to find a nesting site belonging to an Eastern Whip-poor-will.
Nature Canada Species Spotlight: http://naturecanada.ca/what-we-do/naturevoice/endangered-species/know-our-species/whip-poor-will/
Please Speak up!
You can help us protect a wetland complex located within the Township of the North Shore. This pristine environment is home to a number of species at risk, including the whippoorwill, and it needs to be protected!
To advocate for the conservation of this critical habitat, write letters to the local council (firstname.lastname@example.org), local MP Michael Mantha (email@example.com), and the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (MNRF) Steve Acorn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Image ©Heather L. Hubbard
“The whippoorwill is coming to shout / And hush and cluck and flutter about”,
from the poem “Ghost House” by Robert Frost.
Listen to the whippoorwill repeatedly chant its name.
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