Skip to main content

The Sound of the Whip-poor-will

Can you remember the days when you could head outside in the evening on a cloudless night and hear the distinctive call, “whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will” from nearby forests?  Sadly, the call of the whip-poor-will is being heard less and less and it is now listed as threatened in Ontario.  The whip-poor-will is a mainly nocturnal bird that feeds at night on flying insects.  Its preferred habitats include semi-open forest with exposed rock outcrops, grasslands, pastures, and habitats with exposed mineral soils.  Though it’s not known for sure, it is believed that the whip-poor-will populations are in decline due to habitat loss/ degradation and changing food dynamics due to pesticide use – a common problem for aerial insectivores of all kinds.  Next time you are out in the evening take a quick listen and maybe you will be lucky enough to hear the distinctive call.  If you do, feel free to report it to eBird Canada at www.ebirds.ca. Visit the link below for more information on this interesting but threatened species.

http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/stdprodconsume/groups/lr/@mnr/@species/documents/document/276687.pdf