Birds & Science

We use the best available science to ensure the survival of Montana's birds and other wildlife.

Nightjar Surveys

coniCommon Nighthawks and Common Poorwills in Montana may be in serious decline. Nation-wide some species of Nightjars appear to be declining but data from Montana are limited. These are amazing birds. The Common Nighthawk was the 2012 “Bird of the Year” by the American Birding Association.

Learn more about this nationwide survey.

The U.S. Nightjar Survey Network is fast becoming a vital program to gather data on the population distribution and population trends on this group of declining species. All birders and conservationists are welcome to participate in the program by adopting Nightjar Survey Routes.

Nightjars are the group of nocturnal, insectivorous birds that includes species such as the whip-poor-will, common poorwill, chuck-will’s-widow, and the nighthawks among others. The U.S. Nightjar Survey Network was introduced in the southeast in 2007 and then expanded in 2008 to gain full coverage across the conterminous United States. We are grateful to the number of participants already involved in the program. The beginning years of data collection has already helped in explaining how the composition of habitats in local landscapes influences nightjar abundance. In turn, these data will one day help to explain population declines. However, there is still need for more routes to be surveyed, greater geographic and species coverage, and longer-term count data.

Nightjar Surveys are standardized counts conducted along census routes at night. Observers count all Nightjars seen or heard for a six-minute period at each of 10 stops along the route. The entire survey will not take much more than one hour to complete and only needs conducted one time per year. We have produced a series of routes in each state with many that are still in need of adoption by survey participants.

nightjarPlease consider adopting a Nightjar Survey Route in your area. The continuing success of Nightjar Survey Network relies entirely on volunteer participation.

For details on route locations, methods of survey, and more go HERE.

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