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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

Common Poor-will

Although the date of this entry is October 16, 1804, Capt. Lewis refers to the temperature on the morning of the 18th. One historian has faithfully quoted both figures as they were written; another skips the reference to the date but identifies the date of discovery as the 17th.

Capt. Lewis, October 16, 1804--This day took a small bird alive of the order of the [blank space] or goat suckers. it appeared to be passing into the dormant state. on the morning of the 18th the murcury was at 30 a. o. the bird could scarcely move. I run my penknife into it's body under the wing and completely distroyed it's lungs and heart yet it lived upwards of tow hours this fanominon I could not account for unless it proceeded from the want of circulation. of the blo[o]d the reccarees (ed. the Arikaras) call the bird to'-na it's note is at-tah-to'-na' at-tah'to'-na, to-nah, a nocturnal bird, sings only in the night as does the whipperwill. it's weight [is] 1 oz 17 Grains Troy

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