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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Nightjars you’ve heard in north Texas

Nighthawk (Nightjar family)
Like me, you may have called it a Whippoorwill, but what you heard was probably a Nighthawk or Chuck-will’s Widow. They’re in the Nightjar family. They’re neither hawks, nor do they fly at night (although they may keep you awake at night with their calls). They only eat insects, which they catch in mid-air with unusually large mouths, hunting  mainly at dusk. During the day they sleep, well camouflaged, on a patch of flat ground, or the top of a post; sometimes on a flat roof of a house.


What’s that smell?     Especially at this time of year, unwanted animals get into trash, raid birdfeeders, and tear up storage bins etc. A low-cost remedy is plain old ammonia, available cheaply at any grocery store. Soak a rag in some or put some in a dish and raccoons, armadillos, possums, stray dogs etc. won’t stick around. It even works on rats. Birds, however, have little or no sense of smell and don’t even know it’s there.


 OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.

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