Dr. Jaeger at the Poorwill Site

Palaver #22
April, 1966



Photograph by
Jack Harris


Probably the most fascinating discovery Dr. Jaeger made was the hibernating Poorwill. The location was in the Chuckawalla Mountains in California in 1946.

In a paper presented before the Fortnightly Club of Redlands, California, on March 29, 1973, Dr. Jaeger remarked:
True hibernation denotes a lowering of body temperature, a near cessation of heart beat and breathing, a general low metabolism and other physiological changes. The state of winter inactivity and torpor of bears, skunks and raccoons is not considered a hibernation. They retire to shelter in winter when it becomes cold, but they remain warm blooded. It was left to the author of this paper to find by merest chance a torpid Nuttal's (sic) Poor-will in the Chuckawalla Mountains of California. For four winter seasons I carried out those observations and experiments which at last definitely proved that, in at least one avian species of the family Caprimulgidae, hibernation is indeed a fact.1

1  Quoted in Son of the Living Desert: Edmund C. Jaeger (1887-1983)
    by Raymond  Ryckman, Ph.D  &  James  L.  Zackrison, M.A. , p. 101

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