by William Blake, MPG Ranch

The MPG Ranch in the Bitterroot Valley just found out that one of our Common Nighthawks was detected some 3400+ miles away in Colombia during fall migration!

Kate Stone banded this adult male (see picture) on 8/21 in the shrubby draws of MPG Ranch (in an area we commonly call “Little Baldy Saddle”). Our Bitterroot array of Motus stations (see note at end of article) picked up this tagged bird everyday during the breeding season, until it flew off MPG Ranch on 9/5. It was then detected on 10/24, at the Capurganá Motus station in Colombia (see map).

The antennas of the Capurganá Motus station detected this nighthawk for a whole 10 minutes, as it then likely continued to migrate southbound. Nighthawks from eastern US and Canada are known to winter in Brazil and Argentina. We hope that the on-going Motus expansion efforts in South America will continue to inform us on nighthawk migration and winter destinations.

A big thank you goes to Nick Bayly and SELVA Colombia team for installing and maintaining the Capurganá station. 

Note:  MOTUS stations are an array of fixed point receiving stations for signals from the type of radio transmitter placed on this nighthawk.