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Piping Plovers: The perils of the first migration

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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

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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

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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

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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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Attracting hummingbirds – it’s time

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This blog post was originally published on August 3rd, 2014.  On Sunday afternoon, I observed my first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the fall migration.  Thus, bringing it back as a reminder that it is indeed time to put out a hummingbird feeder if you have not already done so.    I stated on this blog three years ago I get excited when the end of July rolls around because it represents the unofficial start of fall hummingbird season in Nebraska.  If you …

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Mega-rarity – Swallow-tailed Kite in Kearney

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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?

Ospreys in Keith County

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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And the falcon’s name is…..

PEREGRINE FALCONS: Images of a peregrine nest box installation at the State Capitol Building. John Dinan putting rocks in peregrine nesting box and looking for peregrines (Falco peregrinus) at Capitol Building. [Mislabeled as FALC01 DC. Image by Doug Carroll not Don Cunningham.] Carroll, Apr. 3, 2003. Copyright NEBRASKAland Magazine, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

With more than a thousand total votes cast, the winning entry of our name-the-chick contest is “Dinan”. The name honors John J. Dinan, former Nongame Bird Program Manager at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.  John was instrumental in initiating the Peregrine Falcon projects at the Nebraska Capitol and WoodmenLife Tower.  To illustrate this point, we went to the NEBRASKAland archives and found a few wonderful photos of John working on the Peregrine Falcon projects back in the day.  The first photo shows …

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VOTE NOW! – Name-the-chick finalists

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After receiving 364 submissions during the first phase of our “name-the-chick” contest, a blue ribbon committee had the tremendous challenge of selecting finalists.  After gut-wrenching deliberations and fierce debate, the committee chose six finalists.  With finalists selected, it is now time for “the people” to have the final word and give our Peregrine Falcon a name.  Below, the finalists are listed and justification is provided explaining why each name is worthy of consideration.  Below the the list of finalists is the actual poll.  The finalists, …

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Scissor-tails in Pawnee County

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On Tuesday, I had to make a quick trip down to southeastern Nebraska which gave me an opportunity to visit a pair of nesting Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in Pawnee County.  Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are striking birds with extremely long tails that are rare but regular (annual in occurrence) in our state.  Southeastern Nebraska is right at the edge of their breeding range.  Scissor-tails are a species of tyrant flycatcher in the same genus (Tyrannus) as Eastern and Western Kingbirds.  Both kingbirds are common summer residents …

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