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Wildlife

Celebrate Nebraska Bird Month at statewide birding events

LINCOLN, Neb. – Join fellow bird lovers in celebrating Nebraska Bird Month in May at birding events across the state. Those living in western Nebraska can enjoy a birding hike at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area (SRA) on May 20, as well as an evening of painting birds at Lake McConaughy SRA on May 25. Eastern Nebraska events include a day of bird observation and identification at Indian Cave State Park on May 27, a Mothers’ Day breakfast and bird …

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Observe greater prairie-chickens from Burchard WMA blinds

LINCOLN, Neb. – Wildlife viewers can observe the courtship ritual of the greater prairie-chicken in southeastern Nebraska. Twenty birds have been using a lek at Burchard Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Pawnee County. A lek is a specific area where the birds gather to display their mating rituals year after year. The public is invited to view the spectacular mating rituals of the male prairie-chickens. Viewers will be able to interact in the bird’s environment and see the importance for …

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Nebraskans encouraged to vote for a state reptile

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is hoping to raise awareness for the state’s reptile species by encouraging all citizens to vote for a state reptile. Nebraska’s state symbols include western meadowlark, white-tailed deer, goldenrod, honeybee and cottonwood. The state lacks a designated state reptile, however. Nebraska is home to 48 species of reptiles, including snakes, turtles and lizards. That list has been narrowed to six species: ornate box turtle, common snapping turtle, bullsnake, western hognose snake, …

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White-nose syndrome confirmed in Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. – White-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that affects hibernating bats, has been confirmed in Nebraska. The disease was confirmed after several dozen dead bats were discovered during a recent survey of a mine in Cass County. The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, confirmed the disease in three bats from the mine – a little brown bat, a northern long-eared bat and a tri-colored bat. Nebraska is the 30th state to confirm the …

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Public encouraged to report whooping crane sightings

LINCOLN, Neb. – The entire population of whooping cranes in the Central Flyway is expected to migrate through Nebraska over the next several weeks. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission encourages the public to report whooping crane sightings. Information on crane sightings is used to affect whooping crane conservation and recovery efforts positively. Report any sightings to Game and Parks (402-471-0641), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (308-379-5562), or The Crane Trust’s Whooper Watch hotline (1-888-399-2824). Emails may be submitted to …

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Tests confirm spread of CWD to Lancaster County

LINCOLN, Neb. – A sick deer in Lancaster County tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal neurological disease, in early March. This is the first known case of CWD in Lancaster County.  CWD is a degenerative disease that attacks the brain of an infected deer or elk, eventually causing emaciation, listlessness and death. It is generally thought that CWD is transmitted from animal to animal through the exchange of bodily fluids, but other modes of transmission may exist. …

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Mild weather bringing more sandhill cranes

LINCOLN, Neb. – Numbers of sandhill cranes on the Central Platte River during the spring migration typically peak in the third week of March. That seems to be changing. Close to 195,000 cranes are on the Central Platte as of Feb. 27, according to an aerial survey by the Crane Trust. That figure was around 66,000 just a week ago. Numbers should continue to build with continuing mild weather and viewing should be favorable going forward. The aerial survey detected …

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A Fan of the State Tree

As Nebraska celebrates its 150th year of statehood, an iconic, representative symbol of the state is the official tree — the native cottonwood. The 1972 legislature named the cottonwood (Populus deltoides) as the state tree, replacing the original selection made in 1937 — the American elm (Ulmus Americana L.). The cottonwood was chosen because many elm trees had been killed by Dutch elm disease and it is rooted in Nebraska’s pioneer history. I have great admiration for the cottonwood tree. I can …

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Game and Parks earns national conservation award from NWTF

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission received the Land Stewardship Award from the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) on Feb. 16 during the 41st annual NWTF Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tenn. The award was presented to the Commission for promoting responsible forest management, wood procurement and manufacturing practices for the benefit of the nation’s forests, wildlife and people. The Commission and the NWTF have a long history of partnering to enhance wildlife habitats across Nebraska. …

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How To Cook Your Goose: Tasty Light Geese

Hey, who says that snow and Ross’s geese are not good to eat, huh? No, they’re not cat food, garden fertilizer, “sky carp,” “bad lutefisk with feathers,” “over-cooked catcher’s mitts,” or any other derogatory  names you want to call them! With these geese, it’s just the opposite! Please don’t roll your eyes. Bear with me. Snow geese and Ross’s geese, defined as light geese,  have dark, richly flavored meat. They can be quite delicious, if, and I mean, if, you take adequate care of them in the field, prepare them …

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