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Wildlife

What we do with dead eagles

Most Nongame Bird Program responsibilities are tasks we rarely, if ever, discuss or draw attention to in a public setting such as this one.  In most cases the reasons are obvious.  A quick way to bore everyone is to to discuss the thrills of data management or write about the excitement of reading a lengthy proposed regulation in the Federal Register.  Sometimes the task seems ordinary and perfunctory.  Such is the case with what we do with dead eagles.  It …

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Kangaroose

As you may be aware, the spring migration of light geese (Snow and Ross’s Geese) is underway Nebraska, as is the Light Goose Conservation Order hunting period. But, as with a number of things in nature like migratory game birds, something strange has occurred amid the flocks of wild snow geese, according to hunters. A mythical, winged creature has emerged – a genetic mutation, if you will. It was spotted just recently in extreme southern Nebraska hopping around a decoy spread. The creature appears to be part snow goose and …

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Brewer’s Duck

Over President’s Day weekend, a key associate and I took a birding trip to Nebraska’s western reservoirs.  We visited Lakes McConaughy and Ogallala, which were both iced over with the exception of a little open water in the spillway.  On the evening of 15 February, we observed an odd puddle duck which I identified as a “Brewer’s Duck”.  Perhaps you’ve never heard of this species and there is good reason.  “Brewer’s Duck” is the name John James Audubon gave a …

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Panhandle Passages: Chopper Time

From the rocky buttes of the Wildcat Hills near Gering to the evergreen-studded canyons near Bassett, a helicopter crew put in time for Nebraska’s big game conservation efforts during the past week and month. I’ve been fortunate to be up close and personal with some of their air time. Last week, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission used the help of a contracted helicopter crew of California-based Native Range Capture Services to catch bighorn sheep and elk and provide the …

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Five essential spring birding trips – #3

Spring is a terrific time for birds and birding.  I am currently in the middle of highlighting five birding trips and experiences that all outdoor enthusiasts should consider attempting this year.  Certainly there are hundreds more out there for the taking, but I’ll start slow.  Now that we are in the latter days of winter, it is time to pencil in dates and make plans.   Essential spring birding trips #1 and #2 focused on migration spectacles, #3 is focused on …

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An Update On Erwin

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist Erwin has been spotted once again in sunny Florida. For those of you that do not know, Erwin is “our” famous Piping Plover that was banded at a lakeshore housing development in Dodge County, Nebraska, as a three-day old chick in June 2011.  This one bird has been observed spending the winter at Bunche Beach near Fort Myers, Florida, the last three years in a row.  Erwin was spotted for the first time …

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Five essential spring birding trips – #2

Spring is a terrific time for birds and birding.  Over the next few weeks, I will be highlighting five birding trips and experiences that all outdoor enthusiasts should consider attempting this year.  Certainly there are hundreds more out there for the taking, but I’ll start slow.  Now that we are in the latter days of winter, it is time to pencil in dates and make plans.   I began with #1 and now #2 is up today and may occur at …

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Birds Count: From the Backyard and Beyond

A hooded merganser swims a quiet creek. A cardinal sings from a bird feeder on a bare cottonwood branch. A bald eagle crisscrosses the blue sky. Observed in a single morning, these birds were part of millions–33,464,616 to be exact –that made up the final tally of the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) in 2013 when participants in 111 countries submitted 137,998 checklists, documenting more than one-third of the world’s bird species in just four days. Want to be a part of the experience? …

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Duck Speeds

Gauging speed in miles-per-hour (mph) began in the 1700s when stage coaches established timetables, then came into common usage with the arrival of railroads and even more so when automobiles appeared on the scene. Estimating the speed of ducks by hunters could not have been far behind, as missing a shot at a duck crossing at 60 mph sounds more accurate that “pretty darn fast” or “zoomed by like a meteor.” But it was not until airplanes became more common …

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Five essential spring birding trips – #1

Spring is a terrific time for birds and birding.  Over the next few weeks, I will be highlighting five birding trips and experiences that all outdoor enthusiasts should consider attempting this year.  Certainly there are hundreds more out there for the taking, but I’ll start slow.  Now that we are in the latter days of winter, it is time to pencil in dates and make plans.   I begin at #1 with the most famous and familiar and I will end …

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