Look at this bizarre-looking cutie pie! This is a chuck-will’s-widow. It looks like a weird new Pokemon, and— just like a Pokémon— it says its name! Like its close cousin the whippoorwill, the chuck-will’s-widow is rarely seen because it’s nocturnal and well-camouflaged. If you’re lucky, though, you may hear its characteristic high-pitched call at night.
Chuck-will’s-widows are in big trouble, with their populations steadily declining in recent years. Habitat destruction, especially of the shady oak and pine forests where they usually nest, is a big threat to them, while climate change and pesticide poisoning are additional threats. Outdoor cats can also be a danger to the youngsters during their first few weeks of development.
You can help protect chuck-will’s-widows and other native birds, especially if you’re fortunate enough to have these special birds in your neighborhood! Please keep your cats inside and limit your use of pesticides. Support local sanctuaries and nature preserves (like, in our area, Chattanooga Audubon Society and Reflection Riding Nature Center). We can work together to help keep our native birds safe!