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Wildlife

Snowy Owl Update

I blogged earlier this year that Nebraska is west of this year’s Snowy Owl invasion.  Over the past week, there have been two new Nebraska reports to add to the single one from December.  The first was reported to NEbirds and involved an owl at Eppley Airfield in Omaha on 28 January 2014.  The owl was apparently photographed.  The second report actually occurred earlier, but just reached my desk over the weekend.   Judy Blunk was the lucky observer and found …

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Wings Over the Platte Features Life on the River

The regions oldest and largest artist exhibit dedicated to life on the Platte River, Wings Over The Platte, opens with a reception tonight (Feb. 13) from 6-8 p.m. at the Venue next to Bartenbach’s Galleries in downtown Grand Island. Hosted by the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, the exhibit is free and open to the public. “It’s a very unique time for us,” Joe Black, Executive Director of the Stuhr Museum, said in reference to the relocation of the …

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Skunk Spawn

I was a little late getting home for supper the other night.  Many times I can get a lot done in the office after 5:00 p.m.. after the phone stops ringing.  As I parked my pickup on the street and walked to the front door, I heard a great horned owl hooting.  Now I live in Lincoln, within the city limits, but there are a lot of trees and apparently a great horned owl was in listening distance.  I woke …

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Final Day

January 31.  It’s here, arriving with little fanfare, if any at all.  Dreaded by some, ignored by most, it is the last day of the upland bird season. And like the many that have come before it, I will be hunting. I am drawn to the final day of chasing birds for reasons I can explain and a few I cannot.  But, the simple fact is this is my last chance to hunt them for 7 months – 9 for pheasant and …

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2014 Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) opportunities

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.  I use BBS data all the time, including in my recent blog post about Black-capped Chickadees.  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 …

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How a sandpiper’s bill is like an elephant’s trunk

All birds have bills, but different bills are used differently.  Rather than going on a prolonged digression about bills, it may be more useful to show rather than tell.  Typically, we think of bills as hard, inflexible and unfeeling.  They are comprised of bone and keratin and are used to grab, crack, poke and rip things.  That is certainly an apt description for many bird species, but not all.  Sandpiper’s bills are different.  Take a look at the photographs of …

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Bald Eagle Days

Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out Bald Eagle Days at the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center by Gavins Point Dam! Bald eagles have become a common winter resident in Nebraska and now is the perfect time to see them. To find out more about bald eagles in Nebraska, please visit http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/wildlife/wildlife_species_guide/eagles.asp

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Chickadees, Devastation, & the Long Road Back

A little over a decade ago, a novel disease was sweeping across North America from east to west.  In 2002, West Nile Virus (WNV) reached Nebraska and had immediate impacts.  Humans, livestock, and birds were susceptible to WNV and consequences were dire in some instances. As we all hopefully know, mosquitoes were and are WNV’s main transmission vector. Now, with more than a decade’s worth of experience and perspective, WNV has become part of life.   It remains dangerous, but we …

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Sometimes Hunting Becomes Hunting with a Camera

OUTDOOR TIP: Always, and I mean always, take a camera you with you on any outdoor adventure to capture lasting images of the experience. The camera, whether it’s on your iPhone, Smart Phone, or is a small pocket-sized digital camera, or even is a large digital one with a foot-long lens, helps to lock in memories and validate outdoor stories. Here’s my camera, nothing fancy, but it does the job fairly well. I took my camera with me yesterday afternoon to my buddy Steve’s farm in Saunders County, …

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Seeing “Cool” Eagles on WOWT 6 Outdoors

Don’t miss my weekly WOWT 6 News Outdoors segment Thursday evening when we cover winter bald eagle viewing in Nebraska. Everyone I know, including myself, marvels at the sight of a bald eagle in the wild! Here’s a photo of a bald eagle at the Ak-sar-ben Aquarium/Schramm Park State Recreation Area near Gretna, NE. Cool, huh? How about another photo of a bald eagle from that same area? Find out more information about bald eagle viewing opportunities by tuning in to The Weekly …

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