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Nongame Bird Blog

Plover trouble in Texas

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist A couple weeks ago we were made aware that one of our Nebraska Piping Plovers was found entangled in some fishing line on the Texas coast near Texas City. This plover was found by Mark Bartosik and was struggling to escape from fishing line anchored to the ground.  Mark carefully freed the plover from the fishing line but noticed that it was injured and unable to fly.  This plover was taken to a …

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Nebraska’s newest “threatened” bird

This past Friday (31 August), the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission met in Burwell and one of the business items on the agenda was adding two species to the state list of threatened and endangered species.  One of those species was the long-eared bat, which is not a bird and therefore I am not qualified to discuss.  The other species was a bird called the Red Knot.  Since I have received a couple questions wondering why a bird many people …

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Sound of summer going silent

So here we are at the end of summer.  I always have mixed feelings this time of year.  I am excited about cooler weather, fall migration, and football, but I also always feel a bit bummed thinking about all the summer birds that will soon be leaving us for warmer climes.  It happens quickly, with each passing week more species depart, migrating south, not to be seen again until spring 2016.  As I was out birding on Sunday, I was …

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First time in a hundred years

On Sunday, I once again ventured to the Rainwater Basin to follow-up on some nesting birds I’ve been tracking.  One visit was to a site to check on a small aggregation (11 nests) of breeding Eared Grebes I found on 7 July. Eared Grebes are fairly common spring and fall migrants throughout Nebraska.  This species is also a fairly common breeder in the Sandhills, but south of the Platte River breeding records are few.  The discovery of nesting Eared Grebes in the …

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Growing up Mudhen

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I’ve spent some time this summer in a few Rainwater Basin marshes surveying breeding birds.  Arguably the most common breeding species I observed was the American Coot.  My forays into the marsh allowed me to observe this species during its breeding cycle, from combative territorial squabbles between pairs to awkward chicks taking their first swim.  Coots are often referred to as mudhens.  They are duck-like, but they are not ducks.  They are members of the …

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Critical mass: Glossy Ibis are everywhere

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about discovering Glossy Ibis nesting in the Rainwater Basin.  This species has been increasing in the state since its first documented occurrence in 1999.  Glossy Ibis are similar in appearance to the more common White-faced Ibis.  White-faced Ibis have also increased in our state over the last several decades.  On Tuesday of this week, I found myself driving down Highway 2 between Lakeside and Antioch in Sheridan County and was amazed by the numbers of …

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Ospreys on the verge of success?

Ospreys first nested in Nebraska in 2008 and there have been nesting attempts about every year since.  However, I do not believe there is firm evidence any of the nesting attempts have been successful (young are not known to have fledged from any nest).  This may finally be the year Nebraska Ospreys register one or two in the win column.  I was recently on the road in western Nebraska and had a chance to check in on a nest near Lake McConaughy.  This …

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Cormorants nesting in Rainwater Basin

I was back birding in the Rainwater Basin on Saturday (18 July).  The most surprising find of the day was the discovery of two Double-crested Cormorant pairs with nests at a large wetland.  The nests appeared to be mostly completed.  One bird, though, was observed bringing sticks to its nest and the females on both nests were not fixated on nest contents.  Thus, I suspect no one has laid any eggs yet.  This observation represents the first known nesting by this …

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Jeepers – feather loss and bald birds

The Fourth of July has come and gone, and summer is now about doldrums and dog days.  You’ve raised your offspring and sent them on their way.  Now, a little “me time” is in order to improve your plumage.  Ok, maybe not so much for you, but for some of our familiar feathered friends, it is that time of year.  Maintaining a fine-looking plumage is not easy and feathers wear out.   Thus, all birds molt during their annual cycle to …

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Glossy Ibis nesting – a Nebraska first

The population increase and range expansion of the Glossy Ibis is one of the more interesting avian stories of the last quarter century.  Nebraska claimed it first documented record not that long ago in 1999.  In less than two decades since, Glossy Ibis have essentially become regular (annual) in occurrence in our state.  It is not unusual nowadays for multiple birds to be reported in a single season.  This species has also increased throughout the Great Plains and has been found nesting in …

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