Nighthawk Migration - Meadowbrook Log Cabin

Late August the first year I was in the log cabin I saw what I thought were bats swooping around the street light on the other side of the brook.

Nighthawk flying around eating bugs - Nighthawk Migration - Meadowbrook Log Cabin
Nighthawk flying around eating bugs

I found out these are not bats. They are nighthawks.

Nighthawks migrate through this area in late August.

Nighthawks eat bugs. They hunt by flying with their mouth open. You can see them at dusk and dawn, swooping around the light. I have seen them about a half an hour before the sun goes down and then in the morning just as it gets light until the sun is up.

Nighthawk – See the tiny little beak? Photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren - Nighthawk Migration - Meadowbrook Log Cabin
Nighthawk – See the tiny little beak?
Photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

They have tiny little beaks. But when they open their mouth, it’s like a flip top head.


Click to see now big a Nighthawk’s mouth opens.

They have tiny little beaks. But when they open their mouth, it’s like a flip top head.

When they migrate through here they swoop around the street light swallowing everything attracted to the light.

They really look like they could be bats. They kinda loop around because they are scooping up bugs with their mouths. They swoop, flap and glide.

I found out that the only time they are congregated like this is when they are migrating. The rest of the time they are solitary and territorial.

Nighthawk in flight Photo by Gary L. Clark - Nighthawk Migration - Meadowbrook Log Cabin
Nighthawk in flight
Photo by Gary L. Clark

Nighthawks aren’t related to hawks, but they look kinda like them. If you see what looks like a hawk this time of the year, but with long narrow wings with a noticeable white band, it’s likely a nighthawk.

Nighthawks perch parallel to the branch Photo by Chrharshaw - Nighthawk Migration - Meadowbrook Log Cabin
Nighthawks perch parallel to the branch
Photo by Chrharshaw
Nighthawk sitting on the ground Photo by Gavin Keefe Schaefer - Nighthawk Migration - Meadowbrook Log Cabin
Nighthawk sitting on the ground
Photo by Gavin Keefe Schaefer

When they perch, they perch parallel to the branch. I’ve seen them in the trees in front of Ingles. They also sit on the ground.

All of my pictures look like fuzzy blurs.