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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/321

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NIGHT HAWKS AND WHIP-POOR-WILLS.

entirely absent in the night hawk. Further, the tail of the former is very much rounded, with its four middle feathers like those of the back, the three outer ones, on either side, having their terminal halves white. In the night hawk the last-mentioned portions are black, and the form of the tail is very different. Our night hawk also has a distinctive white patch on the outer aspect of each wing, which is not present in the whip-poor-will. Again, the habits of these two birds are by no means similar. The whip-poor-will, with rare exceptions and under certain circumstances, is active and feeding from dark until daylight, and sleeps on the

PSM V44 D321 The night hawk c virginianus.jpg
Fig. 1.—The Night Hawk (C. virginianus),♂. Drawn by the author and much reduced.

ground in the forest all day, the very reverse of this being the case with the night hawk. In some localities the latter is known by the name of the "bull bat," the first word undoubtedly having reference to the booming noise it emits during its plunging freaks through the air, in which it indulges while out abroad for food. Audubon and Wilson disagreed on the score as to how this noise was produced by the bird, the former claiming that it was performed by the wings, and the latter that it was "doubtless produced by the sudden expansion of his capacious mouth." I am inclined to the opinion of Audubon in this matter.

Among our native-born Americans I have never heard the name of goatsucker applied to our whip-poor-will, whereas that is a very common appellation for the species in many parts of Europe, where still all manner of crimes are accredited to this very harmless bird—that is, to its European congener. It is now, of course, an old story that long, long ago the goatherds of Italy and Greece, observing those birds at dusk flying around the