A common poorwill arriving in our clinic is quite uncommon. The species isn’t often seen in southern Oregon. Despite its rarity, the bird came into our clinic in early November from the Brookings area. Common poorwills are migratory birds and the staff in the Wildlife Images’ Clinic knew they needed to get this bird out as soon as possible so he could get to a warmer climate for the winter.
This patient came in underweight so to ensure we could bulk him up quickly we provided several meals a day. Staff even took him home to care for him through the night. Poorwills are nocturnal so they have huge eyes to see at night. They also have what at first glance appears to be a tiny beak. This opens up to a cavernous hole that allows the bird to catch bugs while in flight. Another unique trait of poorwills is their incredibly delicate wings and feathers. Two staff members were needed to feed the bird to protect his feathers and special precautions were taken when he was transported to ensure no damage was done.
As with all patients, we go to great lengths to make sure they are released with the best chance of survival and as close to their original location as possible. For this guy that was on the back lot of a lumber yard in Brookings. Two weeks after his arrival, we carefully packed him back up and headed to the coast. We were allowed to go right back to the location where he was found.
As is his nature, this guy looked for the first thing to camouflage himself against. That happened to be a pile of leaves he found a few yards off. Their incredible camouflage made him blend right in. After a few minutes he flew off to a more secluded location and we are sure he is back on track to a warm winter in a range that is still not completely known to ornithologists.