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What Terrifies This Deer in the Woods of Maine? The Answer Will Surprise You

A video shared by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife shows a very startled deer. In the clip, captured by a trail camera, a deer is going about its business until something small causes it to leap and run away.

Can you spot the fearsome creature?

It’s hard to see what scared the deer, but a slight light reflection from the animal’s eyes gives us a clue. Maine wildlife biologists say the small animal is an Eastern whip-poor-will. The bird is slightly bigger than a robin, and its feathers do a fantastic job of blending in with the forest ground. In fact, Maine officials say the animal’s camouflage makes it hard to study the bird.

bird scares deer
An Eastern whip-poor-will. (Source: Greg Lawrence)

In fact, the bird’s coloration makes it so hard to spot that the animal has no problem laying eggs right on the ground. It simply finds a pile of leaves to lay its eggs instead of building a nest up high in a tree.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife shared the clip to promote a study of the whip-poor-will and its cousin, the common nighthawk. The study has some preliminary findings, but biologists say more information is needed. Researchers say they’re trying to learn more about breeding success, habitat use, diet, and migration routes. 

Want to capture your own trail footage of wildlife? Find out how you can get started. 

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