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Big time rarity in Knox County

Like many birders, Mark Brogie has traveled across Nebraska for many years to find and see rare birds. Mark is actually quite good at it as he has seen more bird species (412) in the state than anyone else. Chasing rare birds often means early mornings, long days, waiting and, almost always, going somewhere else far from home — but not always.  Early Saturday, Mark got an early Christmas gift when a Black-throated Sparrow appeared at his feeder in Creighton, Knox County.    Black-throated Sparrows are striking birds that inhabit deserts of the American Southwest.  Paul Roisen did what birders often do and rushed over to where the rare bird was located and captured some great photos, which are below.

Black-throated Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow, Creighton, Knox County, 5 December 2015. Photo by Paul Roisen.
Black-throated Sparrow, Creighton, Knox County, 5 December 2015. Photo by Paul Roisen, used with permission.
Black-throated Sparrow, Creighton, Knox County, 5 December 2015. Photo by Paul Roisen.
Black-throated Sparrow, Creighton, Knox County, 5 December 2015. Photo by Paul Roisen, used with permission.
Black-throated Sparrow, Creighton, Knox County, 5 December 2015. Photo by Paul Roisen.

Black-throated Sparrow has been recorded in Nebraska on seven other occasions, so Mark’s bird should be the eighth state record.  Prior to 2014, the last time the species made a showing in our state was 1998.  Last year a Black-throated Sparrow made an appearance in a Lincoln County backyard in August.  Like Mark’s bird, three of Nebraska seven previous Black-throated Sparrows showed up in early December or January at an eastern Nebraska feeder (Omaha in 1974, Dixon County in 1993, and Bellevue in 1998).   All three of those other Black-throated Sparrows stuck around for a while, so perhaps this Black-throated Sparrow will celebrate the New Year in Knox County.

Typically, I would congratulate a fellow birder on a great find.  In this case, I will congratulate the Black-throated Sparrow for finding Mark’s backyard!

Good birding!

Nongame Bird Program

Many thanks to Paul Roisen for permission to share his superb photos on this blog.  

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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