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Birding Keya Paha County

Work duties allow me to travel to all parts of the state and this past weekend I was stationed at the Turbine Mart in Springview, Keya Paha County, to check deer during opening weekend of firearm season.    Even though I was overwhelmingly consumed by work, I did have some slivers of time to enjoy some of the beautiful sights and birds in this area.   The Niobrara River valley is a remarkable place and birds were surprisingly numerous.  Large flocks of American Robins were found in the wooded areas with small numbers of Townsend’s Solitaires and Red Crossbills in the mix.  In the open country away from the valley, several groups of Greater Prairie-Chickens and Sharp-tailed Grouse were discovered roosting in trees before dawn.  Nine species of raptors were recorded, including four Merlins, a Prairie Falcon and a Ferruginous Hawk.   Below, are a few photos captured during my foray.

Norden Chute just before sunrise on 18 November
The amazing Norden Chute just before sunrise, 18 November.
Red-tailed Hawk
Dark-phase Red-tailed Hawk in Keya Paha County, 18 November
Merlin
Merlin on a fencepost in Keya Paha County, 18 November
American Tree Sparrow
American Tree Sparrows were numerous in the thickets.
Prairie in Keya Paha County
Open prairie in Keya Paha County, 18 November

It was another reminder that Nebraska has a lot to offer regardless of interest or aspiration.

About Joel Jorgensen

Joel Jorgensen is a Nebraska native and he has been interested in birds just about as long as he has been breathing. He has been NGPC’s Nongame Bird Program Manager for eight years and he works on a array of monitoring, research, regulatory and conservation issues. Nongame birds are the 400 or so species that are not hunted and include the Whooping Crane, Least Tern, Piping Plover, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon. When not working, he enjoys birding.

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