Nighthawk Update

Posted on July 29, 2015
Two small Common Nighthawk chicks on a Concord rooftop, 7/14/15 photo by Rebecca Suomala

Two small Common Nighthawk chicks on a Concord rooftop, 7/14/15 photo by Rebecca Suomala

It’s hard to believe that the Common Nighthawk nesting season is wrapping up already! Project Nighthawk volunteers were busy trying to keep track of nighthawk activity and locate potential nest sites in June and July. We were Two small Common Nighthawk chicks on a Concord rooftop, 7/14/15 photo by Rebecca Suomalaable to confirm two nest sites this year, both on rooftops. In Concord, we confirmed a nest at a business which allowed us access to the roof. Given the activity we had observed from the ground, I expected to find one or two chicks nearly ready to fledge. To my great surprise there were two tiny chicks – perhaps 3-4 days old! As of this writing (July 21), the chicks are still alive and well and we are hopeful, although it’s unusual for nests on roofs to succeed.

CONI f and chick Franklin 7-8-15 RSuomala

Photo by Rebecca Suomala

A nest In Franklin was the first there since Project Nighthawk started in 2007 and the two chicks have already fledged. The building owner, Todd Workman, was very enthusiastic about this nest and helpful with monitoring. One chick decided to explore a little early and ended up on the sidewalk. Two great folks at a nearby building tried to pick up the bird but it fluttered into the middle of the Central Ave. They stopped traffic and herded the bird into some evergreen shrubs on the edge of the sidewalk. I retrieved the chick and put it back up on the roof, where mom and a second chick were comfortably snuggled up to a beer bottle!

The Common Nighthawk chick after being returned to the roof in Franklin, and the female with the other chick, 7/8/15 photo by Rebecca Suomala.

The Common Nighthawk chick after being returned to the roof in Franklin, 7/8/15 photo by Rebecca Suomala.

We conducted the first ever coordinated nighthawk watch in Grantham in mid-July, and had nine nighthawks but no behavior that indicated nesting. Activity at other locations such as Keene and Ossipee has been challenging to figure out, with potential nesting but no confirmation.

If you’d like to support or volunteer for Project Nighthawk, contact me, rsuomala@nhaudubon.org, 603-224-9909 x309.