Outdoors Journal: Nighthawk migration

  • Article by: JIM GILBERT
  • Updated: August 19, 2010 - 11:13 PM

 

Any time after mid-August and into early September, naturalists and birders in southern Minnesota are aware that it's nighthawk migration time. In afternoons and early evenings, flocks of these blue jay-sized, dark-colored birds with long pointed, white-patched wings can be seen gliding, diving and circling, feeding on insects in the air and heading south. Having been summer residents throughout Minnesota, the common nighthawks are on their way to winter in South America. Last year, the first migrating nighthawks were seen over the Twin Cities area on Aug. 23. Each year we expect to see large migration flights over Duluth between Aug. 18 and 25; in late afternoons, 1,000 nighthawks per hour could be seen.

The common nighthawk is a wide-ranging aerial forager that is found regularly over many habitat types, including prairie, cropland, woodlands, wetlands and residential and business districts of towns and cities.

Nighthawks have a tiny bill but a wide, gaping mouth. The birds sweep up in their large mouths all types of insects, from big moths and beetles to the tiniest of flies and mosquitoes.

JIM GILBERT

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Philadelphia - WP: R. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 1
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 2
Texas - LP: J. Williams 2 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 12
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 4
Cincinnati - WP: M. Latos 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 5 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 3
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3 FINAL
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 4
Minnesota - LP: C. Fien 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Guerra 10
Toronto - LP: A. Loup 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Veras 3
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 1 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 0
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 9 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. Schultz 4
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 10
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 8 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: D. Haren 2
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/7/14 6:00 PM
NY Jets
San Francisco 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New England 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Washington
Cincinnati 8/7/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
Seattle 8/7/14 8:00 PM
Denver
Dallas 8/7/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Winnipeg 27 FINAL
Hamilton 26
Toronto 31 FINAL
Montreal 5
Brt Columbia 25 FINAL
Calgary 24
Saskatchewan 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Edmonton 8/8/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
Winnipeg 8/12/14 6:30 PM
Toronto
Connecticut 89 FINAL
San Antonio 79
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