A Song for July 18

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One thing these whip-poor-will recordings should tell you is that these birds are territorial in mid-summer, whether in the cool pines of Oso Ridge or in the sweltering pocosins of Francis Marion National Forest. That of course is what drew me into the latter place at this inhospitable time of year. Is the Eastern Whip-poor-will part of the breeding avifauna of the coastal plain of South Carolina? I had grown up thinking that it is not, but I had recorded it nearby in Charleston County, SC, in early June. Many birders tend to think that such birds are on migration; I tend to hope that they can be shown to be on territory for a nesting effort. We can safely assume that the two birds I recorded on 7/18 are not on migration. When birds are singing simultaneously, it is usually interpreted as territorial. Two other birders reported these birds on 7/25/13 and 7/30/13, showing the beauty of eBird as a rare bird alert and showing that these birds are sedentary. This allowed me to use the S7 breeding status code in eBird. Of course, we need many more records, and we need to find a few nests. Maybe I will give that a go.

Notice that the whip note of each song is smooth, not jagged, as in the Mexican Whip-poor-will See July 12 for a full discussion of the taxonomy of these two species..

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Nathan D. Pieplow. 2017. Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Nathan D. Pieplow. 2019. Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Western North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Donald Kroodsma. 2005. The Singing Life of Birds. Houghton Mifflin.