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Nongame Bird Blog

Breeding Bird Survey routes available for 2017

The Breeding Bird Survey (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 BBS coordinator and perhaps my principal duty is to identify and recruit individuals to fill vacant routes.  Running a BBS requires only one morning in June to complete.  It is a great …

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Distinguishing Whooping Cranes from similar species

The period when Whooping Cranes migrate through Nebraska is here.  Whooping Cranes migrate from breeding sites at Wood Buffalo Park, Canada, to their wintering sites at and near Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas, every fall.  In four to six weeks, hopefully the entire Aransas-Wood Buffalo flock of about 300+ birds will have successfully migrated to Texas.   Migrating 2,500 miles is risky business and this is a critical few weeks for these birds.   NGPC, along with our partners, rely on the …

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19/K is released

Monday, October 3rd, was a good day because the long time resident male Peregrine Falcon, 19/K, was released back at the Capitol by Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Recovery (FFRR).  As you certainly remember, 19/K was found injured and on the ground in Lincoln way back on June 6th.  After he was rescued, FFRR quickly determined he suffered a dislocated elbow.  FFRR treated 19/K, but it took time for him to recover, gain strength and get in condition to be released.  19/K is obviously a fighter, …

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Tracking Erwin: 5 years & 87 days later

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist Erwin has once again safely made it back to Florida and is set to spend her sixth winter in a row in the sunshine state!  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 five years we have been tracking Erwin’s movements across the United States and she has successfully made the 1,000 plus …

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Piping Plovers: The perils of the first migration

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist Last week I posted a story about a Piping Plover that successfully completed its first migration and arrived safely along the U.S. Gulf Coast only two months after hatching in Nebraska. Last week’s story highlighted how remarkable it is that these birds travel over 900 miles or more only a couple short months after hatching. This post is about the perils of migration and, unfortunately, the story does not end happily-ever-after. The reality is …

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Piping Plovers: The First Migration

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist After spending the last three months on their breeding sites here in Nebraska, Piping Plovers have started their southward migration to their wintering grounds along the U.S. Gulf and Southern Atlantic Coast. Some of these plovers have already successfully arrived on their wintering grounds. The Piping Plover pictured below, with its light blue flag and yellow over green bands on its right leg and metal and gray over gray bands on its left …

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BOOM! – Second Nebraska Breeding Bird Atlas published

Big and momentous news hit the Nebraska ornithology and birding scene in just the last few days – The Second Nebraska Breeding Bird Atlas by Wayne J. Mollhoff is now in print!   The tome summarizes 54,800 (!) bird observations collected by volunteers from 2006 to 2011 and covers 225 breeding species.  The cover features photos by Michael Forsberg and the layout is very attractive.  The project is a follow-up to the first Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) which summarized observations …

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Selasphorus surprise

After just mentioning on this blog that it is time to put up hummingbird feeders, I had a delightful surprise in my backyard today (27 July) when a Selasphorus hummingbird made an appearance.  After seeing the bird several times, I thought the evidence indicated the female bird was a Broad-tailed Hummingbird based on size, apparently large tail, and rufous coloration appearing to be restricted to the outer rectrices.  This species breeds in the Rocky Mountains and is one that I never seen in …

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Mega-rarity – Swallow-tailed Kite in Kearney

Yesterday (25 July 2015), a Swallow-tailed Kite was photographed at Cottonmill Lake near Kearney.  Below is a photo of the bird taken by the observer, Dave Gleason. Swallow-tailed Kites historically occurred in Nebraska, but were extirpated before 1900.   Since the species was extirpated there is only one other previously-accepted record – a bird observed below Fort Falls, Cherry County, 26 May 2013.   Thus,  this observation is one heck of a record. Good birding! Many thanks to Jim Jenniges for passing along …

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Ospreys – more success in 2016?

Last July, I blogged about nesting Ospreys in Nebraska and, specifically, about recent observations that a pair in Keith County appeared poised to fledge a single offspring.  This was momentous news because, even though Ospreys had nested on multiple occasions in Nebraska since 2008, all known previous nesting attempts ended in failure.  The news got even better in 2015 when Kathy DeLara reported three nests in Scotts Bluff County all appeared to fledge young.   Another year has passed and I had the …

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