Friday, April 26, 2013
Chuck-will's-widow, one of my very favourite birds. We have many of them here in the wooded hills of north Mississippi. The locals usually call them, quite incorrectly, a Whip-poor-will. Why? Well, the two birds are very similar and do have similar calls, but to the experienced ear they are quite different. We do have some bona fide Whip-poor-wills in north Mississippi, but 99 times out of 100, what one hears at Twilight and at night, is the much more common Chuck-will. Last night one was about ten feet from my bedroom window, singing his sad strange call. It eats primarily insects, particular those active at night such as moths, beetles, and winged ants. It will also eat small birds and bats, swallowing them whole; its mouth opens very wide. It is an odd looking, yet beautiful bird.