The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is asking people for help tracking the whereabouts of the threatened Eastern Whip-poor-will in northwestern Ontario.
There’s a good chance you’ve never spotted a Whip-poor-will, but you may have heard its call.
The small, mottled-brown bird is named for its distinctive song. It’s also well-camouflaged and nocturnal, with a particular fondness for brightly moonlit nights.“When we go out and do surveys, folks would go out at night and drive along roads and simply get out of the vehicle and listen for that call,” said Peter Addison, a species-at-risk specialist with the MNR in Thunder Bay.
“That’s how we would figure out where they are and how many there might be in an area.”
Addison says the Whip-poor-will population has been declining for several decades, at a rate of about three per cent each year in Ontario.
For the past four years MNR offices in the northwest have collected information about the birds in an effort to learn more about where they are nesting, so that those areas can be protected.