Bird #227 — Whip-poor-will

caprimulgus (from caper, goat, and mulgeo, to milk) vociferus (noisy)

Friday, May 28, 1982 — 9:30 pm

McNaughton, Wisconsin — Spider Lake Road

My wife and I took a walk to look for Whip-poor-wills. We had just rounded the sharp turn and started down the hill where the road crosses a marsh and creek.  Just before the road turns again to cross the marsh, we heard a Whip-poor-will.  I played its song on tape.  A male flew out of the woods, passed us about five feet away, banked around past again, then disappeared into the woods and began singing again.  We stayed in the area and kept playing the tape.  About five minutes later, we saw it again as it flew past.

It continued singing on and off for the hour we were within earshot, a four-syllable, endlessly-repeated, rapid “whip-poor-dur-will.”

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