Common Nighthawk

Go To Ground-Nesting Birds 2024 for an Intro to this series & Links to other pages

July 5, 2024: Nighthawks have returned to the Backlands!

By The Bird Team: Joshua Barss Donham, Fulton Lavender, Cathy Smalley, Katie Studholme. Video by Joshua Barss Donham

Images from Nighthawk Video

Joshua heard the Nighthawk for the first time this year at Osprey Ridge/Alabaster Way Trailhead on May 23; there have been many sightings and recordings since.

Why does this have us all atwitter??

Nighthawk numbers have been in steep decline. It is a Species of Concern Nationally, and a Species At Risk in Nova Scotia, and thereby legally protected under the NS Endangered Species Act.*
*View the Recovery Plan for the Common Nighthawk in Nova Scotia

The Backlands is a special place where they are surviving and raising their young. Just coincidentally (or not), the Common Nighthawk was recently designated Halifax’s Bird of the Year! (View post June 29, 2024)

How can you tell when the Nighthawks are back in the Backlands? Listen at dawn and dusk for their characteristic buzzy “peent” calls, and look up for the swooping, looping feeding flight of these remarkable birds.

And don’t forget to also look down! Nighthawks raise their young in nests directly on the ground – please tread carefully this summer, keeping your feet & paws on the trails to avoid the eggs and chicks of the ground nesting Nighthawks.

Stay tuned through the summer to learn more about these fascinating birds – not only as part of our ground nesting bird series, but also as we follow some amazing research that started last year with ARUs (listening devices) & continues this year with the work of Dalhousie University students.

Are you enjoying learning about ground nesting birds in the Backlands? Let us know via our Facebook Page/ (@HfxBacklands) or Instagram. And maybe take a moment to share this post with a friend that might enjoy it too!

Nighthawk at dusk in mid summer 2023 Video by Joshua Barss Donham

Page posted Apr 1, 2024 (dp)
Addition on July 5, 2024 (dp)