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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.

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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Peregrine news: Lewis likely spotted in Texas

It has been a while since I’ve heard from our friends working for the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in The Woodlands, Texas.  On a few occasions over the past few years I’ve received emails, usually accompanied with a photo, informing me that the Peregrine Falcon “Lewis” was observed sitting on a ledge on their office building.   Lewis hatched at the Capitol in 2012 and is the sibling of Clark, who has taken up residence at the Omaha Public Power District’s north …

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Bald Eagle nest numbers fly past 200 in 2017

The Bald Eagle’s comeback continues unabated.  We just finished crunching the numbers for 2017 and our estimated total of active nests in Nebraska last year is 209.  This is the first time Bald Eagles nest numbers have exceeded 200 in Nebraska in recorded history.   The species likely bred historically, but was extirpated prior to 1900.  In 1991, Bald Eagles successfully nested in the state for the first time in more than a century.  The 2017 total also represents a 29% …

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2018 Breeding Bird Survey routes (still) available

The Breeding Bird Survey (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 BBS coordinator and perhaps my principal duty is to identify and recruit individuals to fill vacant routes.  Running a BBS requires only one morning in June to complete.  It is a great way …

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Lower Platte River CBC summary

The first Lower Platte River Christmas Bird Count (CBC) took place on 4 January 2018.   It was a hoot starting a new CBC and I was not certain about what would be recorded, especially considering the recent spell of extremely cold weather.   Below, I provide a summary of the CBC and rundown of the results. Coverage area:  The new CBC encompasses a large chunk of Sarpy County and adjacent areas of Cass County.   The big bend in the Platte River …

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Harlan County CBC recap – another record-smasher

The 10th Harlan County Christmas Bird Count (CBC) took place 14 December and, like last year, it set a record in regards to the total number of species observed.  Previous Harlan County CBC’s were held in consecutive years from 1996-2001 and the CBC resumed in 2014.  Below, I provide a summary of the results from the 2017 edition of the Harlan County CBC. Conditions:   December has been relatively mild and that was definitely the case before and the day of the …

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Nebraska Plover In Mexico

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist After banding Piping Plovers along the Lower Platte River in eastern Nebraska for the last 10 years, and banding a total of 809 plovers, we just received our first report of one of our Piping Plovers in Mexico! Over the years, 98 plovers originally banded along the Lower Platte River in eastern Nebraska have been re-sighted in their winter range during the non-breeding season. However, all of these re-sightings have been in the …

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Nebraska’s next bird species?

Nebraska has had a spate of rare birds recently.  Some of the highlights include not one but two Harris’s Hawks, Black Vulture and a Williamson’s Sapsucker.  None of these big time rarities are first state records.   An Anna’s Hummingbird in Omaha late last year was the most recent addition to Nebraska’s official list.  A Pacific Wren captured and banded at Chadron State Park this fall will be up for consideration by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee, the body that evaluates …

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Snowy Owl surprise

I was out birding yesterday (10/29) and had the good fortune of coming across a Snowy Owl south of Bellevue.  The bird was sitting on a light pole near the intersection of Highway 34 and Harlan Lewis Road.  Photos, below. Finding a Snowy Owl in Nebraska is always a big deal, but it is usually something one hopes for in December or January, not October.   In fact, yesterday’s Snowy Owl is the earliest to appear in Nebraska in fall by …

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