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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.

Seeing the elusive Pine Grosbeak – thanks to a lot of help

Pine Gros2

The Pine Grosbeak is a large finch that inhabits boreal forests of the far north and Rocky Mountains.   It rarely ventures to Nebraska.  Over the last 30 years, this species has only been reported in our state about a half dozen times.  It is a species I was not sure whether I would ever see in the state.  However, the odds improved when Ben Heppner discovered an immature/female type Pine Grosbeak at Forest Lawn Cemetery on the north side of …

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Correction: It was an Iceland Gull


On Saturday morning, 23 January 2016, I was birding the Lake McConaugy area.  I observed a gull in the Kingsley Dam spillway which I originally identified as an Iceland, but then changed my identification to, admittedly a small, Glaucous Gull.  I reported the bird as a Glaucous Gull on NEbirds.  Mike Resch, a visiting birder from Massachusetts, saw the same bird a few days later and thought it was an Iceland Gull.   I took several photos of the bird …

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Bald Eagles break nest record in 2015

Bald Eagle nest

As reported in a recent NGPC press release, the number of active Bald Eagle nests in Nebraska broke another record in 2015.  Bald Eagle nest monitoring is conducted annually by the Nongame Bird Program, but we rely on a number of partners and cooperators (see the full list at the bottom of this post) who provide information about the status of each nest.  It is very much a team effort and we are grateful for everyone’s contribution.   The big …

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Peregrine Falcon news from Iowa


Winter has now settled in and while cold temperatures may dissuade some birders from getting out, those that do are sometimes rewarded in a big way.  Cary Smithson was out photographing raptorsjust across the Missouri River from north Omaha in western Iowa on Tuesday (12 January) when he came across an adult Peregrine Falcon.  The falcon was very accommodating and allowed Cary to capture some great photos of the bird and also the bands it was sporting.  A few of Cary’s photos are …

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Peregrine Falcon news from Texas

IMG_1410 lewis Dec 2015

Faithful Peregrine Falcon followers will remember that about a year ago big news came out of Texas regarding one of the Capitol’s birds.  Lewis, a male hatched in 2012, was spotted at the Anadarko Petroleum building in The Woodlands near Houston.  After not hearing anything about Lewis for several months, he was recently spotted again at the Anadarko building.  The following photo of Lewis was taken today (28 December) by Linda Kuhn. Lewis was one of two offspring produced by …

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Harlan County Christmas Bird Count recap


After a one week weather delay, the Harlan County Christmas Bird Count (CBC) took place Monday, 21 December.  This was the 8th edition of the Harlan County CBC.  Previous counts were held in consecutive years from 1996-2001.  The CBC resumed in 2014.  Weather for 2015 was cloudy and a tad chilly in the morning, but skies cleared, winds became calm and temperature reached the mid 40s in the afternoon.    Lake levels were relatively low. Fourteen observers tallied 82 species. …

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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 …

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Platte Basin Timelapse Story on Terns and Plovers


Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist As many of you know, we spend a lot of time each year working in cooperation with the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership on Interior Least Tern and Piping Plover protection, monitoring and research.  Below is a link to the Platte Basin Timelapse project’s educational multimedia story featuring the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership and work being done with sand and gravel mining companies along the lower Platte River to protect nesting Interior Least …

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A December hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird - Lushton2

This was a quiet fall for rare hummingbirds in Nebraska, unlike other recent autumns which produced a handful of notable records.  Just as it seemed the door closed for the year, a colleague forwarded a phone message today about a hummingbird coming to a feeder.  Late hummingbird reports always pique birders’ interest because rare species are typically the ones that occur in late fall rather than regularly-occurring species.  This report got me particularly interested because there have been reports of Anna’s …

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First Snowy Owl of the season

Snowy Owl

Kathy Lundstrom is the first to report and document a Snowy Owl in Nebraska so far this late fall/winter.   She came across and subsequently photographed the bird, below, near Stromsburg in Polk County.  This Snowy Owl appears to be a juvenile female based on the extensive black marking. Early signs are not pointing to a big Snowy Owl invasion or irruption this winter in Nebraska and the central Great Plains, which make Kathy’s sighting a bit more special.  The graphic …

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