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Common nighthawk receives care from PROWLS

Common nighthawk

This beautiful bird, with Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society founder and president Merrilee Prior, was lucky enough to be rescued from a cat’s jaws.

With a chest puncture, the common nighthawk needed to be on a weeklong regime of antibiotics at Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society, then it was flown to BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Victoria for flight conditioning.

These are not hawks at all, but long-winged, short-legged high flyers called Nightjars.

Foraging for insects sometimes as high as 500 feet around dawn and dusk with their massive eyes and a beak that comprises the whole face, they are fascinating birds with unusual habits.

They migrate as far as central South America when they leave Powell River.

Their white, buff, grey and black feathers perfectly camouflage branches they lie lengthwise on, or the moss and twig ground they choose to sleep and lay their eggs on.

Common nighthawks will sleep or rest as much as 20 hours a day.

Looking like a piece of bark for 20 hours, you would never believe it could transform into a long-winged, graceful skydancer soaring in graceful loops high above us.

Unfortunately, their numbers are in sharp decline.