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Status in Michigan
Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Whip-poor-will.

Use the links below to view the Whip-poor-will reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Whip-poor-will sightings.
Whip-poor-will Archives Reports
Fall 2003 7
Spring 2003 12
Winter 02-03 0
Fall 2002 0
Summer 2002 2
Spring 2002 17
Winter 01-02 0
Fall 2001 0
Summer 2001 3
Spring 2001 10
Winter 00-01 0
Fall 2000 1
Summer 2000 8
Spring 2000 23
Winter 00-99 0
Fall 1999 0
Spring/Summer 1999 4

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Whip-poor-will

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Whip-poor-will
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Caprimulgus vociferus vociferus Wilson
Eastern Whip-poor-will (A.O.U. 1998: Whip-poor-will)

Summer resident, locally common in the Lower Peninsula, rare in the Upper Peninsula.

First listed for Michigan by Sager (1839: 415).

SPRING.-Arrival is reported in southernmost tiers of counties in the middle of April, and in the Upper Peninsula in late April and early May.

Lower Peninsula.-In the Toledo-Erie marsh area, the Whip-poor-will has arrived by April 17, but the arrival of the earliest individuals averages April 30 and the beginning of main flight, May 8 (L. W. Campbell, 1940:190, 204); Brodkorb and Max M. Peet noted a concentration of "Whip-poor- wills and collected 7 specimens on North Cape in the Erie marsh on May 9, 1937. P. A. Taverner took a Whip-poor-will at Detroit on April 15, 1906, and Swales noted several there each spring, usually between April 29 and May 7 (Swales, 1903: 17; and notes). Arrival is usually reported in late April or early May in the Ann Arbor region, but 1 specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was collected there on April 23 (1900, by J. J. Ricks). In Kalamazoo County the species has appeared (at Vicksburg) as early as April 8 (F. W. Rapp, 1931: 16-17), though Gibbs (1885: 134) usually reported arrival there late in April. It was abundant on the dunes of Berrien County after April 20 (N. A. Wood, 1922: 16). In 3 spring seasons (1931 to 1933) at Sand Point, Huron County, D. W. Douglass saw the Whip-poor-will by April 30 and found it rather common in May; on May 9, 1932, he flushed 5 there. Blanchard and Nelson (MS of 1937) reported the species by April 29 at Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County.

Upper Peninsula.-At McMillan, Luce County (Bryens) and at Blaney, Schoolcraft County (Christofferson), arrival has been noted occasionally in the last few days of April, but usually during the first 2 weeks of May. In Keweenaw County in 1931 the Whip-poor-will was noted on May 26 and occasionally thereafter (N. A. Wood, 1933: 721).

SUMMER.-Eggs have been found from mid-May to early July, but most commonly in June.

Lower Peninsula.-The Whip-poor-will was said to have been an abundant summer resident in southern counties several decades ago (see Swales, 1903: 17, for Wayne County; Gibbs, 1885: 134, for Kalamazoo County), but there are very few definite breeding records. Swales provided no breeding data at all for the Detroit area. N. A. Wood found a nest near Ann Arbor in 1895 which contained 1 egg on May 19, and 2 on May 20. George M. Sutton collected a nestling (U.M.M.Z.) west of Pinckney, Livingston County, on August 5,1936. In Convis Township, Calhoun County, "Walkinshaw found a nest with 2 eggs on June 22, 1924; young left the nest on June 28. Apparently the Whip-poor-will breeds only rarely in Kalamazoo County; Rapp (1931: 16-17) found a nest with 2 eggs at Vicks- burg on May 17, 1928. N. A. Wood (1922: 16) found the Whip-pour-will common in Berrien County (1917 to 1920). He collected 2 eggs (U.M.M.Z.) at Birchwood Beach, Berrien County, on June 1, 1918. Nests with fresh eggs have been found at Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County (Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937), between June 28 (1920) and July 9 (1931).

Upper Peninsula.-At Blaney, Schoolcraft County, Christofferson has noted the species regularly in summer, but has found only 1 nesting-a single egg, July 2, 1937.

Summer occurrences without definite breeding data have been reported in a number of areas: Oscoda County (N. A. Wood and Frothingham, 1905:48) ; at Charlevoix and in Montmorency County in 1923 (Van Tyne, 1925:619) ; on the Fox and Manitou islands, Leelanau County, 1939 to 1940 (A. E. Staebler and L. D. Case) ; in Delta County (Leonard Wing, 1940: 178) ; in Dickinson County (Gaige, 1914: 82); and on Isle Royale in July, 1905 (Max M. Peet, 1909: 356). .

FALL.-Departure has been reported from the Upper Peninsula usually in mid-September, from the Lower Peninsula in late September or (rarely) in the first few days of October.

Upper Peninsula.-At Blaney, Schoolcraft County (Christofferson), and at McMillan, Luce County (Bryens), a few Whip-poor-wills have remained until mid-September rather frequently, and occasionally until a week or so later.

Lower Peninsula.-The Whip-poor-will was listed by Blanchard and Nelson (MS of 1937) at Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County, until September 11, and N. A. Wood secured a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) 8 miles east of Grayling, Crawford County, on September 9, 1903. In 1937 along the An Sable River, about 15 miles west of Oscoda, Iosco County, F. M. Gaige heard at least 4 calling on September 8 and 9; Crystal Thompson reported hearing the species there that year as late as September 16. A Whip-poor- will was flushed on September 9, 1910, on Charity Island, Huron County (N. A. Wood, 1911: 97). In the Kalamazoo area F. H. Chapin collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) on September 17, 1881, and at Vicksburg, Kalama- 200 County, F. W. Rapp (1931: 16-17) recorded the species as late as September 21. The latest fall record from the Ann Arbor region is that of a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) collected by N. A. Wood on September 26, 1914. About Detroit, Swales (19046; 84) saw a few Whip-poor-wills each fall on rare occasions until October 5 and 6 (see also J. Claire Wood, 1906: 22). The species seems to be very uncommon in fall in the Toledo-Erie marsh area and is not found there after September 26 (L. W. Campbell, 1940:97,190,204).

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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