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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.

Looking ahead: available BBS routes in 2019

Occasionally I post on this blog about vacant Breeding Bird Survey Routes.  Usually those posts come in late winter or spring, but I am ahead of the game and already thinking about the summer of 2019. The BBS is a long-term, volunteer-driven bird monitoring program conducted throughout North America.  BBS data are used widely by wildlife agencies, researchers, birders and conservation planners.  The program began in 1966 and more information about the BBS can be found here.  I am the state …

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Introducing the Birds of Nebraska – Online

I am excited to announce the creation of a new website called the Birds of Nebraska – Online (www.birdsofnebraska.org).  The website has actually been around for a couple of months as it was being built.  Even though improvements, updates and additions will continue to be made, it is essentially completed. So what is the Birds of Nebraska – Online? The Birds of Nebraska – Online is simply a state bird reference, a resource that summarizes the status, distribution and temporal occurrence …

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Peregrine Falcons unsuccessful – again

Within the last week the Peregrine Falcons’ second nesting attempt for the year seemed to be headed down a familiar road as one, then two, of the three eggs disappeared.  On Monday (6/25) afternoon, it was looking like failure was imminent as the two birds were seemingly less interested in continual incubating the remaining egg.  On Monday, it was clear the nesting attempt was over and destined to be unsuccessful as neither bird was present at the nest box.   Below …

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Mega-rarity: Reddish Egret in Hall County

The year’s string of great birds continued over the weekend with confirmation of a Reddish Egret at the Platte River bridge crossing south of the Alda I-80 exit.  The bird was being seen from the wildlife viewing platform where many people have enjoyed Sandhill Cranes, and the occasional Whooping Crane, over the years.   The Reddish Egret was first reported as a Little Blue Heron, which is rare to uncommon in the state, but photos captured on Saturday evening clearly showed …

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Mega-rarity: Fulvous Whistling-Ducks at Wagon Train Lake

On Tuesday (6/5) evening, I was leaving a meeting with a group of folks that included Mark Vrtiska, who is the Commission’s Waterfowl Program Manager.  Mark was checking his phone and got some big news from Matt Haugen, a biologist that works in the Waterfowl Program.  Matt passed along via a text that he found four Fulvous Whistling-Ducks at Wagon Train Lake, Lancaster County, earlier in the day.  Matt included photos of the birds with his text and there was …

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Peregrine Falcons lay second clutch of eggs

The Peregrine Falcons at the Capitol seem to always have another surprise to pull out of their bag of tricks.   On Saturday afternoon, in record heat, the female Peregrine Falcon laid an egg in the nest box.  Another egg was laid overnight Monday. This late nesting attempt comes about three weeks after their first attempt failed.  As explained in this press release from back in April, the first nesting attempt was in a gutter at the base of the Capitol’s dome.  …

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Mega-rarity: Swainson’s Warbler at Wilderness Park

It has been a terrific spring for warblers all over eastern Nebraska.  Over twenty species reported and there have been multiple reports of rare species such as Cape May, Blue-winged, and Worm-eating.  The good spring went into overdrive on Wednesday (15 May) when a singing Swainson’s Warbler was discovered by Ruthie Stearns in Wilderness Park in south Lincoln.  Swainson’s Warbler is a species with a relatively dull plumage compared to other warblers and it breeds in the southeastern United States.  It …

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What in the world of ol’ coots is happening here?

A little over a week ago I was out birding (something I tend to do in my free time).  I was out in the Rainwater Basin in Butler County and I was going to swing by a wetland that is bisected by a county road.  As I approached, there were several American Coots walking on the road, which is not unusual.  Most of the coots skedaddled back to the water as I got closer, except for one.   One coot seemed …

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Near miss

On Friday, I got up early in the morning to follow up on a Whooping Crane report in Polk County.  On my way up there, I encountered two Peregrine Falcons close to North Lake Basin Wildlife Management Area near Utica.  One of the birds was on a dead American Coot on a county road and the other took off.  The bird on the kill on the road remained and I was able to capture a few photos. The time I …

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Gearing up for Peregrines – 2018

It is officially spring and with it comes another year of Peregrine Falcons. We got things kicked off on Tuesday when we made a trip down to the Capitol to set up the live video feed set-up on the first floor, add a little bit of pea gravel to the nest box and clean off the camera lenses. For better or worse, we did not encounter any birds during our visit.  Everything I have seen indicates the same two birds that …

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