Wednesday, May 05, 2010

More details on the SW Ohio (Clermont Co.) chuck

On Wednesday, April 28, 2010, I heard a Chuck-will's-widow calling in a field behind my property. It was shortly after dusk and the call was repeated for at least approximately 5 minutes. A Barred Owl called right before the chuck started to call. A lot of times owls will get birds to call that normally wouldn't call.

I heard the call loud and clear for at least 3 minutes, until the noise of the neigborhood made the call harder to hear (dogs barking and kids screaming). Since the dog was closer than the chuck, I was unable to get a recording, as I only have a digital camera to do so.

Chuck-will's-widows by Louis Agassiz Fuertes (from Wikipedia)

The habitat that the chuck was in is an old field with Andropogon spp. and other grasses. It has mixed maples, pin oak, and multifloral rose that I can identify.

Here is a photo of the habitat from the area of where I heard the chuck:

Here is an attempt to provide a map of the approximate area of where the chuck was calling from:

View Larger Map

This would make a second record for Clermont Co. for Chuck-will's-widow. The first is of an injured bird found by Raptor Inc. in Milford on or around Dec. 12th, 2004. Details on this bird can be found on the Ohio Ornithological Society's website HERE.

*Addendum: Thanks goes to Bob Foppe for supplying me with info of a chuck specimen found in Clermont Co. on 5/20/1945 from the Owensville area, possibly from the St. Rt. 222 and US 50 area.

Looking at different online sources, one gets a very cloudy idea of the range of Chuck-will's-widow in Ohio.

The source that I put the most faith in is Cornell's All About Birds site. It shows the chuck ranging only in the Adams County/Shawnee - Portsmouth area (southernmost tip of OH) for Ohio.

This site,, shows chucks ranging from Cincinnati eastward to the Ohio-West Virginia border. This is not what I am familiar with, as a chuck in SW Ohio is a rare find.

Here is an article that I found on the Ohio Ornithological Society website that discusses chucks in Ohio in more detail.

I thought that I might have heard it again on Monday night, May 3rd, but it was far off sounding. I have not definitely heard it since that first night.

1 comment:

  1. I would have to listen to the call on a recording to differentiate the Chuck for Wipper. Chuck goes with 1st and 3rd syalables where the others are on the last.I have the orioles since 5-1 so you are a bit warmer, especially if some were swimming. Try swimming now here and your voice gets incredibly high.We were Joy of bird Watchings top ten and thought I should enjoy your blog.