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Common Nighthawk Weekend

Common Nighthawk by Caroline Lambert

Common Nighthawk by ABA member Caroline Lambert

eBird Frequency Graph

According to the eBird frequency graph shown here, this very weekend is the peak time for birders to see Common Nighthawks in much of the ABA Area. ABA member Lillian Stokes reports an epic migration flight of CONI’s from last weekend. Given the opportunity by nature, we want to encourage ABA members and birders to take advantage of this. Get outside with friends, family, co-workers, and anyone in your circle of influence. Introduce them to birding by seeking out our awesome ABA Bird of the Year.

A couple of weeks ago I introduced a mother and son to birding by standing at the edge of a pond in the Boise foothills while two Common Nighthawks zipped through the dawn sky within mere feet of us. It was one of those special and amazing birding moments I will never forget and I can guarantee those two will always remember.

The official ABA Common Nighthawk Weekend begins Friday, August 30th and runs through Monday, September 2nd. We’d love to hear about your Common Nighthawk Weekend experiences here in the comments or on our Facebook group.

REMINDER: We are currently accepting entries for the ABA Bird of the Year Multimedia Art Contest! Visit the contest webpage for details.

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Robert Mortensen

Robert Mortensen

Robert is most widely known as the host of, a multi-author blog sharing enthusiasm for birds and birding. He is also the ABA's Bird of the Year program coordinator. Robert began birding in the summer of 2004 when his father-in-law handed him a pair of binoculars to go on a Sunday afternoon walk at Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge in Idaho. Birding was an instant addiction. Married to Jessica since 1999, they have four children that keep them hopping. They live in Bountiful, Utah adjacent to spectacular birding at parks and refuges on the eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake. Robert earned his degree in Construction Management from Brigham Young University and somehow fits his construction career around his birding. He is a "well-rounded nerd" who enjoys adventures with his family, serving in his church and Boy Scouts of America, family history, music, and an avid college football fan. Robert plays clarinet and saxophone and enjoys singing too. For question about the Bird of the Year program, you can reach Robert at [email protected]
Robert Mortensen

Latest posts by Robert Mortensen (see all)

  • Birding_is_Fun

    Just saw a CONI this evening with two families. awesome!!!

  • Ted Floyd

    My nighthawk story.

    Very early Friday morning, August 30th, I was sitting in my back yard, listening to crickets, distant road noise, the neighbors’ air conditioners and lawn sprinklers, and sparrows migrating overhead in the night sky, when what should swoop down right into the yard but a glorious Common Nighthawk.

    I can think of so many instances in which “the silence is broken.” You’re out on a hot, quiet afternoon in a sunbaked canyon. You’re overwhelmed with visual stimuli: the lay of the land, clouds and sun, the play of light and shadow, the tall pines, a carpet of wildflowers. All is calm and quiet and beautiful. Then some bird cries out–maybe it’s a nighthawk out by day–and the silence is broken.

    For me, the other night, it was sort of the photographic opposite of “the silence is broken.” I was immersed in an auditory world. Then the sightless void was broken by that dramatic nighthawk, the first I’d seen in the neighborhood since early June, when the trickle of spring-migrant nighthawks were going through.

  • Quentin Brown

    I live in Vancouver, Canada, which, like many North American cities has seen a huge drop in nighthawk sightings. So it was with anticipation that I found myself in Penticton, British Columbia in the beautiful Okanagan Valley on Friday, August 30, an area where nighthawks are still seen. I made sure to sit outside as sun set looking west over Skaha Lake to the hills. For a while I could see nothing and then, one by one, twelve nighthawks appeared over Blue Mountain. They flew towards across the lake towards me, circled acrobatically above me for ten minutes, recrossed the lake and disappeared behind the foothills.
    Quite magical.
    Quentin Brown,
    North Vancouver

  • Wm Wood

    Have to tell you I found 160+ in a loose group @ Little Prarie Lake CA Phelps County Missouri as the sun was setting today – Sunday Sept 1st between 7:15 and 7:45pm. these Nighthawks were feeding at low, medium and high levels. I followed them east for 5 miles to St. James where they seem to still be feeding. The count of 160 is a conservative estimate and it is possible that there were between 200 and 300 in this group.

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Recent Comments

  • Nate, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { That's fair about the weather timing. I recall the observers saying something about Hurricane Nate being involved, but how much is not clear. As to... }
  • Gary Bloomfield, in Birding with a Tricorder... { Great essay, Ted! Feel sorry for the guy in the photo who's wearing a red shirt, though. }
  • Steve Shultz, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { I believe the NC swift was seen on Saturday, October 7 (unless the date indicated by the observer on the photo was incorrect). Nate did... }
  • Rick Wright, in #ABArare - Yellow-breasted Bunting - Newfoundland & Labrador... { What a great bird! Sadly topical: }
  • Nate, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { Whoops. You're right. Those I names turned me around. I'll fix when I get a chance. Sent from my phone }
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