Goatsucker Infestation

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We had an exciting Monday morning when three Chuck-will’s widows and a Whip-poor-will were all captured on the first net run. Both species are strange-looking when compared to most birds. They are adapted to hunt while flying at night, and as a consequence they have very large eyes and a huge mouth. Don’t be fooled by the tiny beak; the gape extends behind the eye and the whole head seems to open up like Pacman when it wants to swallow something. Chucks (left) and Whips (right) are similar to each other, but the Whip-poor-will is smaller and we have captured far fewer of them. 


Adult males of both species have white in their tails: the top bird is the Whip-poor-will and the bottom is the Chuck-will’s widow. Both are named for their calls.

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Some other interesting captures include our second Summer tanager of the season, here looking around for fingers to nip.


A beautiful resident species of Cape Florida is the Common ground-dove.


We have continued to band a steady stream of birds this week; our daily totals are lower than usual since we have fewer nets up than before the hurricane, but the species diversity has been interesting. Red-eyed vireos, Ovenbirds and Black-throated blues remain our top captures for now. There is no sign of a cold front coming to our latitude in the long-range forecast and the easterly winds have been pushing most of the migrants inland, away from our banding site.

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