We monitored Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) nests in a managed grassland in the New Jersey Pine Barrens in 2009 and 2010, and assessed habitat selection by comparing vegetation characteristics at nests with random locations. We found relatively high nest survival with an estimated 79% chance of survival through incubation (daily survival rate = 0.987, n = 16 nests); predation was the most common cause of failure (n = 2). Movements of young (up to 45 m from the original nest site) were frequent, which introduced uncertainty that prevented us from estimating survival through fledging. Nest sites had significantly more open ground cover (e.g., sand, lichen) than random sites, as well as less shrub and grass cover, shallower litter, and lower mean vegetation height.
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