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Old Wednesday 16th February 2005, 07:13   #1
paiviaso
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Nocturnal Bird That Seems Like A Bat

Alright I can't be too descriptive of this bird because it is always night time when I see it but...

It is slightly smaller than a robin. It is dark on the top and white on the bottom. I only see them at night. It runs swiftly on the ground if I walk towards it, and will take flight if I get within 12 meters of it. It flies more smoothly than a bat but still slighty erratically. It lets out long, very loud chirps (...or screeches) that sound like a bat's. I live in southern California (Irvine, Orange County, more specifically). And there are always several of them when I see them.

I am positive it is a bird it is a bird and not a bat from the way it acts on the ground.

I figure there aren't too many birds other than owls that come out at night so...what is this creature???
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Old Wednesday 16th February 2005, 07:49   #2
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My guess would be some sort of nighthawk, though I'm not too sure they would be runners!

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Old Wednesday 16th February 2005, 10:21   #3
Joern Lehmhus
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Hi and welcome!
could it be some wader species? many of these are also active at night when there is some moonlight or starlight.

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Old Wednesday 16th February 2005, 10:30   #4
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My guess is that the bird is a wader of some sort, waders have a very distinctive shape, and they run and fly as your descriptions quite often. If you can descibe the shape it would help.
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Old Wednesday 16th February 2005, 11:51   #5
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It would also help to know the environment - woods, beach, field or whatever.
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Old Wednesday 16th February 2005, 12:49   #6
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I would also go with shorebird sp; it probably helps using this name and not wader, US birders mostly think of herons and allies when they hear the latter. One other possibility would be some kind of thrasher, even though I dont know if these are feeding at night. Why not bring out a strong torch-light and look at them one night? Most shorebirds have some kind of light wingband that should get visible.

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Old Wednesday 16th February 2005, 18:09   #7
paiviaso
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OK more details. Well I said it is smaller than a robin, but it also has a smiliar shape (although maybe not quite so plump looking)...I don't know much about birds, so to me it just has that typical little bird shape, lol. I've never been able to get closer than that to tell you anything more specific about how it looks.

It is also always on the ground. I've never seen them land anywhere else.

As for the enviroment - we are about a 10 minute drive from the beach. Over here it is rolling hills of dry shrubby and is a bit desert-like. However I always see these birds on the grass (which only exists because sprinklers water it mulitple times a day).

I do see herons around during the day, and these dont look anything like that. Like I said, I originally thought they were bats until I saw them move on the ground!

I'll look up the birds you guys mentioned and see if any fit the description.
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Old Wednesday 16th February 2005, 18:26   #8
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Killdeer, perhaps?
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Old Wednesday 16th February 2005, 20:38   #9
lou salomon
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yes, could be kildeer. one of my first killdeers i saw late in the evening on a lawn (it was totally dark with some street lights).
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Old Wednesday 16th February 2005, 21:33   #10
paiviaso
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I think you guys got it - I believe it is a Killdeer.

"Its strident cry is heard from early morning to late evening hours, and, ringing down from the high heavens, has a quality all its own. On the ground, the ten inch bird runs and races around with abandon, all the while emitting its repetitive call."

I listened to its call online, and yep that's the one thats keeping me up all night. This bird flies around shreiking at 2am...

At least I now know what it is. Thanks so much everyone.
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