Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Surprise!

     Sometimes you don't have to look for nature, nature just finds you. I was walking around this morning at work and some coworkers found this guy in a place where he shouldn't be. He was successfully captured and let go without injury, back into the wild of New York City. This was my first encounter with a whip-poor-will. What an amazing little bird with a gorgeous faux bark look to its feathers. The bird gets its name from it's call, just listen to it, there is no further explanation needed. Here are some photos taken with my phone right before his release, enjoy a little slice of wilderness in NYC...
An Eastern whip-poor-will. Those whisker-like projections are not hairs, they are 100% feather. Bird feathers vary in size, structure, and function. These play the same role as whiskers, as these birds are most active during darker hours and these feathers serve as a sensory structure.
While the beak looks very small, the mouth runs down under the eye and just past. They have a very wide gape, so when they open their mouth it appears surprisingly large. These birds feed on insects that are active at night.
The cryptic coloration of this bird makes it very hard to spot. They appear to look like tree bark/leaf litter. These birds will find refuge on the forest floor during the day, making them hard to come across.
One last look. Good luck, lil' guy! (or gal!)