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Wildlife

A License to Feed

Readers have long been sending us photos of their outdoors-themed personalized license plates for publication. As people have a fondness of their vehicles, they also take pride in the government-issued items that identify their chosen rides. If you’re like me, your hoarder instincts kick in when it comes time to get a new set of license plates and find a place for the old ones. Thankfully, I’ve found a way to save those plates and help wildlife while I’m at …

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Bald Eagle nest check time

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist Spring is here, which means Bald Eagles are hunkered down on eggs waiting for them to hatch. This also means that we will be out checking eagle nests to determine which nests are active this year.  Bald Eagle nest monitoring is annual project of the Nongame Bird Program in Nebraska, but we do not do this alone. With the increasing number of eagles nesting in the state, we rely on the assistance of …

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Nebraska Crane Festival Celebrates Stunning Spectacle

As the Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival celebrates 44 years in the Platte River valley this weekend, the Sandhill cranes will have commemorated a few more – at least 2.5 million more, that is. Fossil evidence suggests the Sandhill crane may be the oldest living bird species on the planet. On their ancient migratory pathway from wintering in southern U.S. and Mexico to their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska, they converge along a small swath of braided channels on the Platte River each spring. This …

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My Marsh Madness: Selection Sunday Light Goose Hunt

Yesterday was an exciting day for college basketball in this state with both Creighton and Nebraska qualifying for the March Madness of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in the same region (congrats to both the Jays and the Huskers, and they may even end up playing each other!). But for me, ‘selection Sunday’  as it is so named, meant ‘marsh madness.’ As you may be able to tell, I spent the entire day hunting light geese (Snow and Ross’s geese) during the Conservation Order hunting period on a friend …

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Five essential spring birding trips – #4

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 is time to pencil in dates and make plans.   Essential spring birding trips #1 and #2 focused on migration spectacles, #3 is focused on prairie grouse courtship and #4 returns to the Rainwater Basin …

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Searching for Nebraska Piping Plovers in Texas

Last week, I was in Galveston, Texas, for the Central Flyway meeting and I had the opportunity to spend a little over 24 hours searching for “our” Piping Plovers in nearby wintering habitats.  Lauren Dinan and I have blogged (for example, here and here) about our Piping Plover color-banding program we do in collaboration with the University of Nebraska’s Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership.  We color-band Piping Plovers on and along the lower Platte River in eastern Nebraska, where they …

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Burning Cedar Tree Piles at Grove Lake WMA

In an effort to reclaim native grassland ridges and openings, biologists at Grove Lake Wildlife Management Area near Royal have been cutting down eastern red cedar trees that have overrun many parts of the WMA. Although native to Nebraska, cedar trees are often invasive. They thrive and spread quickly, and if left unchecked, cedars can take over a piece of ground in just a few years, choking out more desirable vegetation and wildlife species that depend on open grassland. Like …

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Come Crane Watching on WOWT 6 Outdoors

On this week’s edition of my Weekly Outdoor Report on Omaha’s WOWT 6 News, we’re heading to Nebraska’s central Platte River valley between Grand Island and Kearney to view the spectacular spring migration stopover of sandhill cranes and other wild fowl. It’s quite an experience! Check out these great photos of the cranes taken by co-worker Katie Stacey of our NE Game and Parks Omaha-Metro Office. Here’s an audio sample of the crane migration: Experience the movement and sounds of …

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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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