Common Nighthawks were once a familiar sight across Canada as they skimmed the treetops on warm summer evenings. However, along with other aerial insectivores, this once-common bird is rapidly declining.
The scope of the nighthawk's peril is not well understood. Nighthawks can be challenging to monitor. They are not active in the mornings when most bird surveys occur, and their incredible camouflage makes them difficult to spot during the day. The Toronto Nighthawk Watch initiative will provide insights into nighthawk population dynamics.
One of the best times to observe these birds is during their southbound migration, when they fly in large groups. Bird Studies Canada conducts nightly surveys in late August and early September at High Park's Hawk Hill, just north of the Grenadier Restaurant parking lot. Binoculars and chairs or blankets are encouraged, but not necessary.
Our 2016 Nighthawk Watch counts take place each evening from 7 p.m. until dark between August 22 and September 9, weather permitting. View our Nighthawk Watch Protocol here. Also, join us for a special family-friendly Nighthawk Night walk and talk on August 31 at 7 p.m. at the High Park Nature Centre.
Toronto Projects Coordinator