Massachusetts Audubon's Whip-poor-will Project is an opportunity for state residents to contribute their observations to a database that will track Whip-poor-wills.
Once common and widespread, Whip-poor-wills have undergone a steady decline that has seemed especially steep to many observers during the last 30 years. In Massachusetts, these birds continue to be common in undisturbed pine-oak barrens on the South Shore, Cape Cod, and the Islands, but are few and far between elsewhere. Like many aspects of Whip-poor-will life, there is little certainty about the causes.
Participants use an online map tool to pinpoint where they have heard a Whip-poor-will. The project has also established a number of "listening routes" statewide. Participants drive these routes under certain prescribed conditions, stopping at regular intervals to listen for three minutes and record any Whip-poor-wills they hear.
The purpose of the Whip-poor-will project is to study the distribution, populations, and breeding activities of Whip-poor-wills in Massachusetts. The data we collect will be the basis for future conservation efforts to ensure that this remarkable night bird will continue to be a part of the Commonwealth's natural heritage.