Friday, September 18, 2009


My rehabilitator friend, Deborah, faces the biggest challenge yet - to nurse a recently-fledged Nightjar back to health. It is apparently uninjured, but is seriously underweight and seems reluctant to take food. Deborah has tried various insects and insect mixes, and we finally came up with the idea of feeding live insects caught in a mothtrap. The bird still wouldn't voluntarily open its gape for the wriggling prey waved in front of it, but seemed pleased with the prey items once Deborah had forced its gape open. We still don't know if it will pull through, but in the meantime, I can tell you that it is a joyous experience and a privilege to have this bird sitting in the palm of your hand.
Nightjars, closely related to the American Nighthawks, are often known as "goatsuckers" from the age-old belief that their huge gaping bill was designed to enable them to suckle on sheep and goats after dark. I love the Turkish variant - รงobanaldatan - which translates as "shepherd deceiver".

1 comment:

Mike & Ann said...

Dear Jake. I grew up in the Norfolk fens, have lived most of my adult life in Suffolk, and have always been interested in birds. But I have never seen or heard a nightjar. As you say, you are very privileged.
Please let us know if this one makes it.
Warm regards, Mike.