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They grow up so quickly

Contributed by Nongame Bird Biologist Lauren Dinan More on Piping Plovers! Last week I blogged about our Piping Plover banding program in which we work in cooperation with the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln School of Natural Resources.  A great part of this banding program is being able to watch our birds as they grow from little fluffballs, to awkward teenagers, and to adults that travel across the United States. The Piping Plover pictured above …

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A Picture is data – worth a thousand words

Contributed by Nongame Bird Biologist Lauren Dinan Research and monitoring are tasks the Nongame Bird Program are constantly engaged in, often with valued partners. In studies of threatened and endangered species sometimes a picture can be worth a thousand words for its beauty; it can also be an important data point. In the case of color-banded Piping Plovers, quality photographs confirm a bird’s identity and status, and provide insight into Piping Plover distribution, population dynamics, and behaviors. Our Program works …

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Leucism reported in Nebraska birds

Cases of leucism have been reported in Nebraska birds at each end of state over the past few weeks.  Before taking cover in your bunker with concerns about the next avian-related pandemic, it might be useful to define leucism.  Leucism is a type of abnormal coloration in a bird’s plumage.  Specifically, it is variable amounts of either white or pale coloration in feathers that typically have pigment.  Even though leucism is rare, it is regularly observed.  I receive a few …

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Alternative hypotheses accepted

On Thursday morning, while taking some personal time (to go birding, of course), I stumbled across an unexpected situation.  The photo essentially captures what I observed. This poor Great Blue Heron was out in the deep, about 30 feet from shore, looking more like a loon from the distance I initially spotted the bird.  As most people know, Great Blue Herons are birds of the shoreline, not open water.  I watched this bird for about an hour to figure out …

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Hummingbirds gone wild

After taking a break from blogging, it is time to get back to it. We are now well into fall migration and fall is the best time of year for birding rarities.   One item making news this fall in Nebraska are hummingbirds.  Last year, I blogged about how to attract hummingbirds to your yard during fall migration, late July through mid-October.  In that post, I noted that hummingbirds wander and rarities will show up outside, sometimes well outside, of …

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Face time

As already noted by others, one of the juvenile falcons got up close and personal with our camera.  The video below captures what you may have missed.

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Peregrines receive their names

This year’s Peregrine Falcon progeny will now be known as “Meadowlark”, “Goldenrod”, and “Cottonwood” for the state bird, state flower and state tree, respectively.  This is perhaps the most underwhelming announcement of all time because everyone already knew this information.   Nevertheless, the voting was fierce with over 850 ballots cast. Thanks to everyone who submitted entries and voted. Two individuals submitted the winning entry.  Willie Braun of Lincoln, Nebraska, with assistance from Bethany Schmidt, submitted a paper ballot at the …

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Learning to fly or flying learns you?

As avid Peregrine watchers already know, our three now juvenile falcons have fledged.   However, learning to fly is not easy as shown in this video clip recently captured by our IT guy Troy Kroeger. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySTuR44zO8c[/youtube] Apparently, sometimes the flying learns you (I’m not sure whether I even know what that means).  Enjoy!

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How far will a Nebraska Red-tailed Hawk travel?

Red-tailed Hawks are common residents in Nebraska.  It is easy to be lulled into the notion that local Red-tails don’t move around all that much because there is always one or two around.  When one leaves for greener pastures, how would anyone ever know?   One of my mantras is that birds are always full of surprises and here is another one.   Last fall we placed a band on a Red-tailed Hawk that was recovered in Sarpy County, Nebraska, and rehabilitated …

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VOTE NOW: “Name-the-chicks” top 6 selected

We received 290 entries, stretching from Maine to Oregon, for the Peregrine Falcon “name-the-chicks” contest.  From this group, a select committee chose the top six finalists.     It is now time to vote for your one favorite.   You can do so, below. Meadowlark, Goldenrod and Cottonwood were suggested because they are the state bird, flower and tree, respectively.  Brando, Carson, and Fonda are famous Nebraska entertainers Marlon Brando, Johnny Carson, and Henry Fonda.  Disco, Rock and Jazz are ” cool and …

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