Bird #227 — Whip-poor-will

caprimulgus (from caper, goat, and mulgeo, to milk) vociferus (noisy)

Friday, May 28, 1982 — 9:30 pm

McNaughton, Wisconsin — Spider Lake Road

Sally and I took a walk along the road toward McNaughton.  I brought a tape recorder and a tape of Whip-poor-will songs.

We had just rounded the sharp turn and started down the hill where the road crosses a marsh and creek.  A car was coming up the hill, and we moved over to the side of the road to let it pass.  It stopped, and I heard someone say, “What are you doing here?  Up to trouble?” or something to that effect.  It was Art and Winnie Rorheim, up for a visit to Truman and Jan Robertson at Fort Wilderness.  We chatted with them for a minute or so, and they went on.

We continued down the hill.  Just before the road turns again to cross the marsh, we heard a Whip-poor-will.  I played the tape.  A male flew out of the woods, passed us about five feet away, banked around past again, then disappeared into the woods and began singing again.  We stayed in the area and kept playing the tape.  About five minutes later, we saw it again as it flew past.

It continued singing on and off for the hour we were within earshot, a four-syllabled, endlessly-repeated, rapid “whip-poor-dur-will.”

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