A few days ago, a member of the Bird Photography 101 group that my friend Joe and I manage asked about the story behind the photo below. I decided to dig up the post and publish it here. Enjoy!
August 5, 2017
“Hey, you don’t know me or anything, but the strangest thing happened. Got chased off by a bird when I got too close to it (didn’t even see it)”
This was the message I received at 4:00 PM yesterday afternoon. My first thought was that it was someone complaining about a Canada Goose. Then the photos came through, and then the story behind them. Not a Canada Goose.
The sender was Tom Nugent. And he was right, I did not know him. But, it turned out that I had recently met a friend of his, Justin Morgan – finder of the dump truck-dwelling Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in Huber Heights. While Tom was at work, he was walking across the roof of the building when a strange bird came after him. Hissing and opening it’s huge mouth.
Not being a birder, Tom had no idea what it was. He had heard about me from Justin, so he contacted me for some suggestions of how to handle it, and to find out what it was. From the cell phone pics he sent, it was a Common Nighthawk – and from its behavior, it was likely on a nest, even though it seems late in the year for that. While the bird was away, Tom was able to locate the eggs in the place where the bird sits.
I had to go see this bird! Tom got me up to the roof and it was amazing! They are so much smaller than I had thought from scope views and flyovers. Delicate, and surprisingly kind of cute – for a goatsucker. I laid down, zoomed in, and fired off a few shots.
She got a little feisty after a few minutes, so we backed off and talked about how to best protect her. She was in a frequently used pathway across the roof, about 8 feet directly in front of a door. We came up with a plan, and later that evening, Tom sent me a pic of how he was going to keep her safe. He also promised to let me know when/if there are babies(!!!).
The “Birding Community” is made up of more than just birders. You don’t have to know the difference between a Common Nighthawk and a Canada Goose to care about their safety and well-being.
Always be alert when in driveways, parking lots, or anywhere a bird might be nesting or resting. (Like on a dump truck – ha ha!)
Private Location – Montgomery County, OH