Breeding Bird Atlas 2 Additional Accounts

 

Chuck-will's-widow


Antrostomus carolinensis


During the middle of the nineteenth century, residents of the James River area of Virginia were standing at the extreme northern edge of the Chuck-will's-widow’s range. As the century progressed, however, occasional breaks in that barrier occurred. The first Chuck’s to be identified in Massachusetts was found dead in a barn in Revere in December of 1884 and a second bird was found in East Boston in 1915 (Forbush 1927). Often heard but seldom seen, Chuck-will’s-widows have been expanding their breeding range north toward Massachusetts for some time, and, though the pine-oak scrub of the Cape and Islands appears to be suitable for nesting, they have yet to be Confirmed as breeders in the state. Chuck-will’s-widow showed up in Massachusetts again in 1971, although it was apparently not yet ready to begin nesting (Veit & Petersen 1993). The species arrived as a breeder on Long Island just about as Atlas 1 surveys began in Massachusetts, when the loud, repetitive calls of Chuck-will’s-widows were regularly heard during nocturnal excursions on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. During Atlas 1 they were found as Possible breeders in 1 block, and Probable in 1 other. This pattern continued in Atlas 2. Just as with the Island birds of Atlas 1, the species proved too elusive for Confirmation in Atlas 2, teasingly serenading Atlas workers by night but never inviting them in for a look at a nest, an egg, or a nestling by day.