Friday, December 21, 2007

Night jar, birth on the roof

Last Thursday, Cleuson called me to see something on the roof of the reception center. A "bacurau", he told me. I climbed the wooden staircase to have a look, but I didn't see anything that looked like a bird. After some guiding from Cleuson, I saw a single night jar chick that was so small and undefined, I'm sure I could have stepped on it without knowing it was there. The tipoff was the broken egg that couldn't have been much larger than a marble. The only reference points are the leaves, which I assure you are small ones. What a place to lay an egg and hatch it! The flat roof the Bosque reception center is nothing more than a big slab of concrete without any protection from the elements. As Cleuson said, "I wonder how the chick and mother bird survive this heat?" Night jars are famous for their ad hoc nesting locations. Any old place seems to serve their needs, including roads. No nesting material at all! I can imagine that the loss of eggs to predators must be very high in this situation.

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