"Jessica! Come check out this really cool bird." I called to my wife. She slowly approached where I stood partially concealed by the trunk of another tree.
"It would sure help if you would tell me where it is." she whispered.
"It's right there in front of us!" I exclaimed. "See...on the horizontal branch right there."
"Oh my goodness! It's just like a bump on a log!" she announced, accurately describing it's camouflage and parallel-to-the-branch perching habit.
I think all goatsuckers (nightjars) are cool birds. I've only seen Lesser Nighthawks and Common Nighthawks in my birding life so far. I most often see them in flight, and the long wings with the white-wing patch makes them easy to identify. Even their calls are pretty recognizable once you have heard them a time or two. In my experience, Lesser Nighthawks seem to be a bit more solitary or paired while Common Nighthawks are often found in larger densities. I've been fortunate enough to find a couple Nighthawk roosting areas and it seems you can find them on almost every branch of every tree!
These photos were taken of a couple of Common Nighthawks at Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park, not too far from Mountain Home, Idaho. Its a great place to take kids to play on the dunes and it is a bit of an oasis in the desert for birds.
They have relatively large eyes and very small bill. The bill has little whiskers all around it. These are terrific bug-eatin' machines.
During mating season they will often fly up high then dive down at break-neck speeds, then suddenly pull out of the dive creating a booming whurr sound as the air rushes through their feathers. I've had them do this right over my head before. It is an awesome experience.
Just catching some zzz's.