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Unusual Notes of Texas Nighthawk

M. W. Delaubenfels
Publication Information
5 (September-October)
From Field and Study

Unusual Notes of Texas Nighthawk

During the summer of 1923, I was engaged in field work in southern Arizona. During June I occasionally camped out in the sahuaro groves south of Phoenix, and was up before daybreak to try and observe nocturnal species. Toward the end of the month, at this time of day, I several times heard a loud ringing whistle “whee-eep-poor-will”. The notes were not at all like those of the Whip-poor-will, which are repressed and muffled by comparison. As a matter of fact, my only theory was that it might be an odd note of an Elf Owl. Later I began to think perhaps it was the Arizona Crested Flycatcher. I knew Texas Nighthawks were common there, and their peculiar bubbling notes (resembling the Screech Owl's) were much in evidence at this time of day, but I did not connect them, then, with this call.

During the same time of year in 1924, I was doing some rather intensive field work in the lower Rio Grande Valley, around Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Mexico, as the guest of Mr. R. D. Camp, who is game warden in that territory and in charge of the collecting of material for the Texas State Museum. I was able to help him a little in collecting Caprimulgidae, and we had good opportunity to study the species of that region, including the Merrill Parauque, Texas Nighthawk, and Aserri Nighthawk. Here again I heard the same wild, ringing cry of “whee-eep-poor-will”. Mr. Camp said it was the Texas Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis texensis), and sure enough, on further investigation such seemed indeed to be the case. At least, the bird we saw making the noise was certainly a nighthawk, and while the Aserri occurred in the same flock it did not occur in Arizona. Both Mr. Camp and myself were confident it was the Texas Nighthawk uttering this cry.

M. W. Delaubenfels

Pasadena, California, March 29, 1925

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