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Nesting Nightjars

NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,951
I am pretty certain we have a pair of nesting nightjars and a recently hatched brood on our upper terrace which is surprisingly close to the house and our cat penthouse in the garage roof! They are regularly flying in and out of the same place even in the daytime and are a fabulous sight to see and to hear both their nightly chirring and that very distinctive wing clap/flight pattern.

How do they protect their chicks from predators? I’m worried about our cats. Sadly I can’t shoot the cats as OH is very fond of them, can’t put collars with bells on them either as they are semi-feral forest roamers not house cats. 

I would love to put a trail camera on the nest but don’t want to disturb them. I don’t suppose there is anything I can do apart from cross my fingers and hope the chicks live to fledge?
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  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,927
    Their colouration provides them with what is known as disruptive camouflage, plus they are almost totally still when on the nest. Both of these adaptations help to prevent predation. Not sure anything works against cats though.
    Consequences, altered cases
    Broken noses, altered faces
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  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 15,558
    Sadly I can’t shoot the cats as OH is very fond of them

    Why no bells on collar? Personally, I would pledge to get no more cats after these ones pass on.

    There is wonderful footage of night jars on this week's Springwatch. Such gorgeous birds.  Look at those incredible nostrils and the "whiskers".






  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,628
    How wonderful. Would love to see a nightjar. 
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,951
    They are quite impressively prehistoric looking, I do actually feel as if I’m on Springwatch! I’m seeing them regularly early mornings and evenings when fully light. I saw all the beautiful markings on one very clearly yesterday.

    I wouldn’t have the cats either @Fire (we inherited them with the house) but there are lots of visiting cats during the night too - hours of trailcam footage of the ruddy things and probably our two well-fed ones are the least dangerous to them. It’s fairly wild with dense undergrowth outside our small cultivated patch so OHs fear is they would get caught up and strangle themselves. We did try a quick-release collar on the tamer one once but it was gone within a day.
  • LunarSeaLunarSea Cheshire / Derbyshire borderPosts: 648
    Loxley said:
    How wonderful. Would love to see a nightjar. 

    I was lucky enough to see one about 5 miles from home earlier this week. A male flew right past me just as it was going dark and proceeded to take moths from a perch on a partially-felled tree. In between it churred loudly. I made a recording with my phone but unfortunately this site will not allow me to upload it.


  • RedwingRedwing SussexPosts: 1,228
    Nollie said:
    I am pretty certain we have a pair of nesting nightjars and a recently hatched brood on our upper terrace which is surprisingly close to the house and our cat penthouse in the garage roof! They are regularly flying in and out of the same place even in the daytime and are a fabulous sight to see and to hear both their nightly chirring and that very distinctive wing clap/flight pattern.

    How do they protect their chicks from predators? I’m worried about our cats. Sadly I can’t shoot the cats as OH is very fond of them, can’t put collars with bells on them either as they are semi-feral forest roamers not house cats. 

    I would love to put a trail camera on the nest but don’t want to disturb them. I don’t suppose there is anything I can do apart from cross my fingers and hope the chicks live to fledge?
    Lucky you!
    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • CrazybeeladyCrazybeelady WarwickshirePosts: 501
    Wow!  As Fire said, they've been on Springwatch this week, Chris Packham would be insanely jealous of you.  Fingers crossed the cats don't get them.
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 15,558
    I was lucky enough to see one about 5 miles from home earlier this week. A male flew right past me just as it was going dark and proceeded to take moths from a perch on a partially-felled tree. In between it churred loudly. I made a recording with my phone but unfortunately this site will not allow me to upload it.



    How wonderful. We just upload to Yoube and post the link here. @[email protected]
  • LunarSeaLunarSea Cheshire / Derbyshire borderPosts: 648
    Just tried that and YouTube also rejected it. I even converted it to an MP4 file only then to be told by Google that they needed to send a text to my phone. Unfortunately we have no mobile reception at home so I've given up. It has become a source of constant frustration for the wife & I whilst trying to manage our finances over the internet.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,951
    Hmm, no sight or sound last night or this morning. I’m hoping that means the chicks have fledged and they’ve moved on. Don’t want to think about the alternative 😟 
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