Bird #146 — Chuck-will’s-Widow

caprimulgus (from caper, goat, and mulgeo, to milk) carolinensis (of Carolina)

Monday, May 12, 1980 — 6:15 am

Conway, Arkansas — Happy Valley

I had been hearing Chuck-will’s-widows singing in the woods on the hillside next to the house every night since we arrived.  I determined to try to find one before I left.  I got up just as it was getting light this morning and headed into the woods.  I heard one singing, and almost immediately flushed it from the ground about twenty feet in front of me.  It landed in a tree about forty feet away.  It sat parallel on a branch with one wing hanging down on each side.  Its enormous mouth was held wide open.  As I got closer, it flitted off noiselessly and disappeared.  I was surprised at how large it was and how big the mouth was.  It looked like its entire head was hinged at the back.

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