Saturday, April 16, 2005

That Poor Old Lady -- Chuck Will's Widow

If you know me, you know I get up REALLY early. Usually about 4:45 most mornings. Gene usually sleeps later, but yesterday morning he woke up early. I was excited to tell him that I heard a Whip-poor-will. And as a matter of fact, he/she was still going since that early in the morning still qualifies as "nocturnal" for our feathered friends.

We both stepped outside to listen and it was so LOUD! It was great! I love living in the country.

Anyway, I quickly corrected myself when I got a good listen. I don't know if I've ever actually heard a real Whip-poor-will in person. What we have around here is the very similar Chuck-will's-widow. They certainly look alike from photos I've found. It's not like you normally see them sitting in a tree. Well, I don't since I sure don't do any bird watching at night. (No, I've never been snipe hunting. Although, I did go coon hunting one time, and running through the woods in the middle of the night after a couple of baying dogs is rather exciting!)

This little guy is about the size of
your hand but it's so LOUD!
When you read about them, the experts say the Whip-poor-will call is accented like this: WHIP-poor-WILL. Either they're wrong or I'm hearing with a southern accent, because the recordings I hear say, "WHIP purh-a WHEEL"

But the bird here sounds like "whup PU-UR WEE-EEL" with that first syllable quieter, quick and cut off. I always think "Poor Chuck's Widow" as opposed to the accurate yet unfeeling Chuck-will's-widow.

Please let me share with you that the "Poor Chuck" branch of the Caprimulgus family is carolinensis and you can hear it, Chuck-will's-widow, HERE.

Compare to Caprimulgus vociferus, Whip-poor-will, HERE.


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