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Nongame Bird Blog

Whooping Cranes at Branched Oak Lake

I was off Friday ahead of a weekend chock full of checking deer, so I had big plans to hit as many reservoirs as I could to see what rarities the strong northwest winds from earlier in the week blew down.  I started my day early at Branched Oak Lake – which was logical since this water body is the largest around and has the most potential (a Black-headed Gull was discovered here earlier in the week).   My first stop on …

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Rarity reported, rapid response required

Black-headed Gull

On late Wednesday afternoon at about 4:30 p.m. I had just settled on my couch with my laptop as northwest winds were beginning to howl in Lincoln.  It was good to be home for good for the day.  Then, an expected email from the internet discussion group NEbirds arrived in my inbox at 4:27 p.m.  The message was from Noah Arthur and it read: Right now there’s an adult BLACK-HEADED GULL just off the tip of Liebers Point at Branched Oak Lake, …

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Tracking Erwin: 4 years & 136 days later

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist Erwin has been spotted again!  As many of you know, Erwin is our famous Piping Plover that hatched at a lakeshore housing development in Dodge County, Nebraska, in June 2011.  Over the last 4½ years we have been tracking Erwin’s movements across the United States.  We are able to track Erwin’s movements because we placed colored leg bands on Erwin when she was a 3-day old chick back in 2011.  We have tracked …

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Playing with one’s food (tragedy of a House Sparrow)

As we move into late fall and winter more and more bird feeders will be put up and filled with seed.  As birds concentrate at feeders they are susceptible to an ambush from one raptor species lurking in suburban environments.    Cooper’s Hawk are a species of accipiter, a type of hawk.  Cooper’s Hawks have long tails and rounded wings which allows them to maneuver around obstacles with ease.  Cooper’s Hawks are birds of open woodlands and the obstacles they typically weave …

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Peregrine news: Orozco re-sighted (away from Lincoln)

Back in September I received a note from the Bird Banding Lab that one of our banded birds had been re-sighted.  Initially, I thought it was probably a Piping Plover or a Least Tern since those species are mostly what we band.  When I looked at the band number it was obviously a larger species.  I immediately suspected Peregrine Falcon.  A quick band number look-up revealed it was the band we used on Orozco, the Peregrine Falcon hatched at the Capitol this …

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From the mailbag – flocks of hawks?

I recently blogged about one “slice” of migrating songbirds which are currently gracing us with their presence.  All sorts of birds are migrating through Nebraska right now.  The end of September and early October brings a few notable migratory peaks that people notice each year and often inquire what species they have observed.  Franklin’s Gulls numbers are peaking as they move through the central Plains; I blogged about this spectacle a couple years ago.  There is also a raptor whose numbers are …

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A slice of September migrants

Migration is going by quickly.  A few laggards not withstanding, many birds such as kingbirds, wood-pewees and orioles are gone for the year, not to be seen again until next spring.  Every week, and often on the heels of each cold front, we have the opportunity to enjoy a different assemblage of migrant birds.  Some migrants only appear in our area for brief periods each spring and fall as they travel between wintering and breeding areas and then back.  What is …

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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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