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Nongame Bird Blog

Those Fiery Redheads

Beauty or beast, this woodpecker has an eye-catching appearance Aerial proficiency to swoop and snatch prey from the sky. Symmetrically arranged talons for clinging to vertical surfaces and a chiseled beak that hammers hardwood surfaces at 1,000 times the force of gravity. A long barbed tongue, three times as long as that self-sharpening dagger-like bill, for retrieving victims from deep within a crevice. All that, and a fiery red head. If readers were to consider that description alone, they might …

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Just an Eagle

Last spring, I received a call from conservation officer Matt Seitz who asked me to pick up an eagle that had fallen from a nest near Barneston. Although I was on vacation at the time, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hold a baby eagle. I said I would get it and went out to meet the farmer who knew where the bird was located. Gary Remmers was working in his field on April 27 when he noticed something …

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Ol’ Rough-legs

The rough-legged hawk may not stand out among raptors in looks, but it lives an interesting life. Perhaps you have seen this species along the road lately, but given its somewhat unassuming appearance, have not given it much thought. The rough-legged hawk, with its mottled brown plumage, blends in well with our landscape during the winter months. The rough-legged hawk is one of those species that logs many miles a couple of times annually. Those fence posts and utility poles …

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Walk This Way

Just like the shape of its bill, a bird’s feet can tell us a lot about its ecology and the habitat in which it lives. Birds do a lot with their feet – they can perch, walk, preen, feed, carry/hold objects and even swim. These animals are considered digitigrade, meaning they generally walk on their toes, not their entire foot like people do. Most birds have four toes, or digits, while some species only have three. These digits are arranged …

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The Red Crossbill

A distinctive finch with an unusual beak The red crossbill is a distinctive finch whose crooked beak usually catches one’s attention. Rather than being a deformity, the odd beak is an adaptation that the bird uses to extract its preferred food source – seeds from the cones of conifers such as pines, spruces and firs. Although its specialized beak may give the red crossbill an advantage in foraging on its preferred cone type, its relationship with conifer cone seeds is …

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The end of the Nongame Bird Blog

Individuals that have visited this blog over the past six years to read one or more of the 300+ posts will have noticed that the frequency and quality of the blog posts has ebbed over the last year.  The principal reason this occurred is because I have focused much of my extracurricular time and energy on the Birds of Nebraska – Online.   I have a recent post on this blog describing what that project is all about.  Because work on the …

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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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