Nature in L.A.

Showing posts with label : Goatsucker

January 19, 2016

A Baby Owl or a Goatsucker at Esperanza Elementary?

written by fifth-grade Esperanza Elementary School students Kaya Johnson and Cristian Torres with their principal, Brad Rumble
"Mr. Rumble, there's a baby owl on the playground!" exclaimed Robbyn, a first-grade student at Esperanza Elementary School on Wilshire Blvd. just west of downtown Los Angeles. It was the day before Halloween 2015 and Mr. Rumble, the school's principal, thought this might be a Halloween prank. But, as any birder would, he went with Robbyn to take a look.

Unbelievably, there, on the asphalt of a corner of the playground, was not an owl but a Common Poorwill. It was 9:15 a.m. and in fifteen minutes 130 first-graders would be playing four-square mere feet from our unexpected visitor. What to do? Cordon off the area...

October 26, 2012

What's Up Goatsucker?

Yes, the first Goatsucker has been found in our new wildlife gardens! No, I'm not talking about a weird new species of goat parasite, I'm actually talking about a type of owl-like bird. Goatsuckers, a.k.a. nightjars, are members of the family Caprimulgidae, which comes from the Latin word Caprimulgus, literally meaning goatsucker. The Latin name came about because of the mistaken belief that these birds would swoop under milking goats to steal milk from the teat!
Common Poorwill, Phalaenoptilus nuttalli,
found on North Campus
Here's what Kimball Garrett, our awesome Ornithologist, has to say about the Common Poorwill (the specific type of Goatsucker) we found: