I have a trail on my property that leads into the Ouachita National Forest here in Arkansas. I was walking this trail when an Eastern Whip-poor-will flew in front of me acting injured. I knew it had to have a nest nearby, and I spotted two eggs laying on the ground near the trail.

Eastern Whip-poor-wills have been known to use the feigning injury behavior to protect their nests and offspring. When a potential predator approaches a nest site, the adult bird may lie still and pretend to be injured in order to distract the predator and draw its attention away from the nest. Additionally, some birds may actually move away from their nests while feigning injury, further drawing the predator’s attention away from the nest site. This behavior, combined with the bird’s convincing act of appearing injured, can be an effective way of deterring predators and protecting their nests and offspring.

This is the second ground nesting bird that I have accidentally discovered this year. The first was a Wild Turkey sitting on eggs: Wild Turkey Eggs

Eastern Whip-poor-will Feigning Injury
Eastern Whip-poor-will Feigning Injury
Eastern Whip-poor-will Eggs
Eastern Whip-poor-will Eggs

This Eastern Whip-poor-will acted injured on the trail in front of me and when I got my camera up for the shot it flew to a tree limb. I took a quick photo of the bird and the eggs and left the area. (I was hand-holding the camera and lens.)


• Location: Near the Ouachita National Forest (Arkansas)
• Date Taken: June 27, 2020
• Aperture: f5.6
• Shutter speed: 1/52 sec.
• ISO: 3200
• Exposure Bias: +0.67 EV
• Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
• Focal Length: 400 mm
• Lens: Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM (attached with a Fringer EF-FX Pro)
• Camera: Fujifilm X-T3