Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Name that bird

Supplementary material

The eastern whippoorwill (Antrostomus vociferus)'s song has always been one of my favorites. Click on the arrow below to hear its call, an evocation of summer evenings when all is still. (Many thanks to the site Xeno-canto for making this possible).

Whipporwills, like many nighjars, are masters of camouflage.

One of H. P. Lovecraft's most famous stories, The Dunwich horror, mentions (and makes use of) a New England legend according to which whippoorwills can catch the departing souls of people who have just died. Considering these birds manage to catch flying insects at night, perhaps that's not such a difficult thing to do! (I wonder if the souls end up in bird droppings, though. What an inglorious end)!

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