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Common Nighthawk Photo: Nick Saunders

Canadian Nightjar Survey (nationwide)


Volunteer opportunity

Nightjars are a unique part of Canada’s avifauna and three species breed here: the Common Nighthawk, Common Poorwill, and Eastern Whip-poor-will. Due to their crepuscular and nocturnal habits, these aerial insectivores have been little studied. In fact, there is currently insufficient information to determine population trends for the Common Poorwill in Canada. However, the data that are available for the Common Nighthawk and Eastern Whip-poor-will suggest strong declines, possibly linked to decreases in insect populations and habitat loss across their ranges, and both are now designated as Threatened.

The Canadian Nightjar Survey is tailored to all three species and the data will provide information on distribution, abundance, habitat associations, and population trends, which are critical for conservation and management efforts. Participating volunteers enjoy a soft summer night, amongst the fireflies, looking and listening for these unique and special species. Each volunteer conducts their roadside survey at dusk, once per year between June 15 and July 15.


Is it for me?

As participants within a given area only need to be able to identify the distinctive calls of two species of nightjar, this is a great survey for bird watchers of all skill levels. Whether you are new to Citizen Science surveys or have been helping out with other surveys for many years, if you have access to a vehicle, you can help collect valuable data that will help enhance nightjar conservation.

Learn more and get involved

Please contact Andrew Coughlan:

Photo: Amanda Bichel
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