The eastern whippoorwill (Antrostomus vociferus) was traditionally associated with death or disaster, but that was largely due to confusion. Modern ornithologists now know that the closely related calamitous whippoorwill (Antrostomus calamitous) is in fact responsible for this behavior.

While the calamitous whippoorwill will occasionally eat insects (typically while breeding), its main source of nourishment as an adult is calamity, which it seeks to cause. Males tend to cause calamity directly; they have been observed stealing medications, sabotaging brakes, and even planting physical evidence at the scenes of crimes.

Females prefer to subtly influence the tangled threads of fate from which existence is woven, tangling the skeins in ways that are almost impossible to grasp. One banded female in Arkansas, for example, was able to cause a bus crash by startling a group of European starlings, which set of a chain of events that led to a large log falling across one lane of a major highway.

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