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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • RUSSELL HIVELY: Nighthawk escapades

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  • Nighthawks swoop and squawk overhead nearly every morning as I walk along Wildcat Boulevard. They are especially prominent in the Neosho Car Wash and Arvest Bank area. I guess they like the lights which attract flying insects.
    A couple times I noticed that one nighthawk made especially low swings over my head as I walked along. I really didn't think too much about it. I thought the bird was only after a low flying bug.
    Then one morning as I was walking east of Arvest, a nighthawk landed on the driveway beside me. I thought This is strange.
    Then the bird began fluttering like she(he) was injured. I was surprised but walked on. The bird fluttered around and then awkwardly flew ahead of me, again putting on the wounded bird act. She repeated this show about a half dozen times until I left the Arvest driveway.
    This incident gave me much to think about. Was the nighthawk performing her act to draw me away from a nest she had nearby? Do nighthawks do the broken wing act like killdeer? I thought about these things but had no answers.
    Two days later, the nighthawk plopped down on the roadway beside me again. She fluttered a few times and then lay still. I thought she was dead, until she fluttered ahead a few steps and grew still again. After all these acts, I was sure this bird did not like my walking along the roadway east of Arvest Bank.
    Many people never have seen a nighthawk, let alone one acting as if she was injured. A common place to see them is at a Wildcat football game. They often fly overhead, showing off their prominents white bar as they move from light to light chasing bugs over the gridiron.  I feel fortunate for having this experience with one of the ground.
    I did a little research and discovered nighthawks nest on gravely areas where their eggs blend in with the rocks. A nighthawk will do the broken wing act to draw an animal away from the nest. I'm wondering where the nest is. On a flat roof? In the gravel alongside one of the buildings?
    Take a walk, never be surprised at what show nature has for you, use those signal lights, and see what you notice while walking along Wildcat Boulevard.  
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