Towards dusk this evening, at approximately 7:20 PM, I saw my first ever common nighthawk. It was just about half a mile from my house, on a road that I travel every week. At first I thought the long-winged bird off in the distance was a startled killdeer, but when the bird flew closer, I saw the long and pointed wings with the characteristic white wing patches above me: It was a common nighthawk! I had always assumed that they did not live in this area, because I had never seen them reported on eBird before. I usually hear a few in the spring, but after that they seem to all disappear, and up until now I had never actually seen one. But tonight I saw not one, not two or three, but around fourteen of them. The reason (suspected reason, that is)? Fall migration. The species are grouping and heading south for the year, which makes sense when most birds migrate in September and October. Nighthawk are more early migrators, however, and I suspect this is the reason for the multiple small groups of them that I saw tonight. And in case you don't know what common nighthawks look like, I have posted an image below for you:
Photo via wikimedia commons.