09 Feb Whippoorwills and chupacabras
There’s nothing quite like a whippoorwill’s call at dusk to let you know the night is coming. It’s a lonely echo in the woods that has captured the imagination of song-writers, poets and authors – a metaphor for rural America.
Artists and writers such as Jim Croce (“I’ve got a Name), Washington Irving (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”), Randy Travis (“Deeper than the Holler”) and many others.
But few people have actually seen a whippoorwill, because of its camouflage that mimics bark and dried leaves, as well as its nocturnal habits. It looks something like a dwarf owl, with tiny feet and a flattened head. With its coloring and spiky tufts of feather, some think it looks a bit like a Texas horned toad.
Another interesting fact about whippoorwills is their Latin family name: Caprimulgus. It literally means “goatsucker.” That’s because the Europeans who named this order of birds thought that they sucked milk from goats.
Interestingly this is the same name as the folk legend creature Chupacabra, which also means “goatsucker” in Spanish. But in this case, the chupacabra is a vampire that sucks blood from goats.