Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Integrated Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

C. Michael Stinson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Mrs. Thelma Dalmas

Third Advisor

Mrs. Teta Kain


The Nighthawk Migration Monitoring Program was initiated in 1997 to study the Common Nighthawk, Chordeiles minor. Modeled after the Hawk Migration Association of North America's hawkwatching methodology, the program enlisted volunteers to record time of day for peak flight, time of season for peak flight, weather conditions affecting migration, and other data. Volunteers were enlisted by establishment of a web­ page and e-mail address, preparation and circulation of a brochure, and through mail.

Individual chapters of the Virginia Society of Ornithology and others expressing interest were sent a letter, brochure, a Nighthawk Count Report Form, and an instruction sheet for filling out the daily report form. Fifty-three data sheets were returned by nine individuals from ten locations for a total of 67.15 hours of observation. Two-thousand one hundred seven nighthawks were seen on 24 days between August 9 and October 11, 1997. The time of day for peak flight was within fifteen minutes before and after sunset and the time of the season for peak flight was the last week of August. Nighthawks were observed migrating in wind speeds up to 38 km/hr and clear to partly cloudy skies. Data was inconclusive on wind direction and use of leading lines by migrants. Based on the first year's results, changes are being made in the program's design and plans are being made to expand it in upcoming years.



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