How to Get Rid of Whippoorwills

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Whippoorwills are nocturnal birds and can be annoying for people trying to sleep.

Many people like looking out the window and watching birds or listening to their song over breakfast. The whippoorwill is a nocturnal songbird whose distinctive sound can be a pain for people trying to get to sleep. Their song can be very loud and may keep people from sleeping if the birds are located nearby. While most birds have some type of legal protection, there are ways to get rid of the annoying late-nights birds.


Step 1

Call a local wildlife expert such as the conservation police or a local extension office. Ask if there are any state or local laws regarding removal of song birds such as whippoorwills. Many times it is unlawful to kill a songbird, but there may be other local laws as well.

Step 2

Listen to the sound of the whippoorwill to discover the general location of the bird. Use a flashlight to search for the birds, they could be in a tree or on the ground. Shine the flashlight on the bird and it should scare it away. If the flashlight doesn't scare it away, walk toward the bird. This should take care of it for the night, but it will likely return the next day.


Step 3

Install a large floodlight on the side of the house where the whippoorwill is. Turn on the light when the whippoorwill begins to sing and the sudden flash of light will frighten the bird away. Install the switch for the light in the bedroom, so you don't have to walk outside to turn on the light.

Step 4

Contact the extension office or local wildlife office if nothing has worked to get rid of the whippoorwill. Ask for a permit to trap the birds or for a wildlife expert to come out and plant traps. Set the traps in the trees and on the ground. Check them every day until the whippoorwills are caught. Free any other birds in the traps.


There are state and federal laws that protect wild birds from being trapped or killed without the proper permit. Do not trap or kill whippoorwills before speaking with a wildlife expert.



Brock Cooper

Brock Cooper attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill. He was a reporter for seven years with a daily in Illinois before branching out into marketing and media relations. He has experience in writing everything from press releases to features on a variety of subjects and forums. His work can be seen in NewsTribune newspaper, Chicago Parent magazine and several websites.