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Where, oh where are the Whippoorwills?

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One of the things I most anticipate in the spring is sitting outside on my porch in the cool-warm evenings with a gentle breeze lightly fanning my face and listening to the sounds of nature. The tree toads and crickets and wind rustling through the leaves entice me, however, the sound I enjoy above all, is the first call of the Whippoorwill.

The Whippoorwill is a rather medium-sized bird that hides among the branches in the deep woods and calls out “Whip-poor-will! Whip-poor-will!” over and over! It is hardly ever seen among the branches and foliage because of its intense camouflage. They are migratory birds that pack up their little suitcases when cooler weather invades the land and heads for the sunny southern temperatures and bask in the warmth of the beaches.

All birds have beautiful sounds they make that attract listeners. The Blue-Jay’s call is very harsh and distinctive whereas the Cardinal has a flavorful song that plays a medley. The Owl hoots and the Dove coo gently. Probably the Hawk is the bird that sounds more like a dive bomber coming in for a landing as it crosses over the blue sky circling for prey, and the Eagle always seems to be very entreating.

However, there has always been something about the poignant fragile call of the Whippoorwill that has fascinated me the most. Perhaps it is because it is a bird that I have never seen or the call brings back memories of the past when I was a child running around barefoot and catching fireflies along the hedges.

Nevertheless, so far this spring and now summer as of Monday, I have not heard my favorite feathered friendly fowl. Each night, I wait and listen closely and wonder where could the elusive Whippoorwill be?

According to some ecological studies, the eastern Whippoorwill is in decline due to predators, habitat invasion and insecticides. The southwestern species is apparently short-distance migrants and what has in the past visited our valley.

Soon, I hope, we will hear the melodic songs of this enchanting bird filling our trees in the evening.

(I would appreciate it if my readers will let me know if they hear the Whippoorwill call this year or what might be considered the delay.)

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