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To egg or not to egg, that is the question

Back on 22 March on this blog, I made the brash and incorrect prediction that the Peregrine Falcons at the Capitol would have an egg by 27 March.  This was largely based on the fact that the Woodmen birds had an egg by 20 March and the Capitol birds are usually about a week behind with their first egg.  It is now 5 April and no egg has been laid, which is raising questions whether Alley and 19/K will breed …

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Orozco in Omaha; Female identified as….

Big news came out of Omaha yesterday with confirmation of a pair of Peregrine Falcons on territory and possibly nesting at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral in Omaha.  Yesterday, the male was identified and details about who this bird is were announced yesterday in the following press release. As noted above, Mike Benkis captured photos that facilitated the identification of Orozco and a couple of those photos are below. The news kept coming Wednesday morning when Robert Wells sent me a photograph clearly …

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Egg watch – 2017

So here we are once again at the beginning of what should be another nesting season for our Peregrine Falcons.  Both the female, Alley, and the male, 19/K, are still present at the Capitol.  This is not only notable since both birds are getting up there in age (Alley hatched in 2004, 19/K in 2001), but more so because 19/K spent much of last year at Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Recovery after getting injured in early June.   He was released at …

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Go birding – tally 150 during Nebraska 150

No one needs an excuse to go birding, not in Nebraska where we have half a million Sandhill Cranes, lekking Greater Prairie-Chickens and, of course, Pileated Woodpeckers.   However, one’s birding can always be made a little more interesting when you set a goal for yourself.  Such is the thinking or function of doing a big year.   A big year is where you try to see as many bird species as possible in a certain geographic area (e.g,. a state). …

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Pileated Woodpeckers moving deeper into Nebraska

Since my last post was about a declining species, the Black-billed Magpie, I will focus this blog post on an increasing species, the Pileated Woodpecker, to balance things out.  Pileated Woodpeckers are big (about crow sized), striking,  black-and-white woodpeckers with a red crest that are found in heavily forested regions of North America.  Pileated Woodpeckers occurred in extreme eastern Nebraska prior to settlement of the area by European Americans, but were extirpated prior to 1900.  Other than a few oddball sightings, …

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The disappearing magpie

Many birders and birdwatchers in western and central Nebraska have noticed the unfortunate absence in recent years of a distinctive, entertaining and familiar bird species, the Black-billed Magpie.  Magpies standout among birds with their striking black and white plumage.  Their blackish wings and long tail show greenish iridescence in appropriate lighting.  Magpies often make their presence known in an area with their “ka ka ka“ call before they are seen.  Not long ago in the late 1990s, Black-billed Magpies were found …

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About that jump in Bald Eagle nest numbers

Word got out yesterday via this press release that Bald Eagle nest numbers in Nebraska broke another record.  Like any good press release, this one was concise and stressed the main points, but this blog provides an opportunity to go into a bit more detail.   Breaking records has become old hat with Bald Eagle nest numbers and, in fact, this was the third year in a row when we’ve tallied an unprecedented number of active Bald Eagle nests in the …

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Top ten birding stories of 2016

It is difficult to believe we are closing out 2016 this week.   As with the end of any year, it seems the thing to do is to reflect on the year that was, particularly in regards to the year in birds and birding in Nebraska.  Below, I count down, from ten to one (with an honorable mention for good measure), the year’s top birding stories here in our state.   This is all my opinion – so my results may differ …

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Record breaker: Harlan County CBC recap

The Harlan County Christmas Bird Count (CBC) took place 15 December and it set a record.  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 2016 edition of the Harlan County CBC. Conditions:  Weather was obviously cold ahead of the CBC.  The lake was about 80% open, but all other water bodies, including the Republican River, were mostly or completely frozen.  We also …

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