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Wildlife

Public urged to not disturb nesting ducks

LINCOLN, Neb. – Reports of ducks nesting under bushes and in gardens and landscaping near houses are common this time of year. Most reports are of concern about the hen and nest or how the ducklings, once hatched, will make it to the nearest water. “The best thing you can do for a hen and her nest is to leave them alone,” said Mark Vrtiska, waterfowl program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “I’ve seen a lot of …

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This one’s for the birds

Black-crowned night heron

I probably owe my job to birds as much as anything. Prior to my NEBRASKAland days, just after getting my student loans paid off, I bought a 100-500mm telephoto zoom lens and set out on the back roads of the Pine Ridge region in search of animals to photograph. Loving both the outdoors and camerawork, wildlife photography just seemed natural, so to speak. As I launched my new pastime, I was excited to get images of the charismatic mammals of …

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Dancing on the prairies

It has been another great year of viewing prairie chickens and sharp-tailed grouse as they performed their mating rituals on the prairie. The displays usually occur from mid-April through the first week of May. If you have never experienced the mating rituals of these two species of birds I suggest you put this on your to do list for next spring.  I cannot express how exciting the mating displays are as these birds gather on their leks to claim territories …

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It’s Bird Month; Do You Know Your Birds?

“What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?” – David Attenborough Are Everywhere You Are One thing you cannot help in this world is seeing birds. They are virtually everywhere! Look up, look down, look over there, go to the waters, the woods, the wavy field of grass or watch through the window of your home, you’ll see birds. More than 450 species of birds …

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Capitol’s peregrine falcons abandon eggs

LINCOLN, Neb. — The peregrine falcon pair atop the Capitol has abandoned their recently-laid clutch of five eggs. The male, 19/K, and female, Alley, apparently remain present at the Capitol but have not been seen in their nest box — or more importantly, on their eggs — since the morning of Sunday, April 30. During the intervening period, their eggs remained exposed to the chilly and wet weather. The nest abandonment essentially ends the 2017 nesting cycle. Nest abandonment by …

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Those Darn Hens

Still have an open spring turkey permit?  Me, too.  But with the season running until May 31 (what I believe to be the longest spring turkey hunting season in the U.S.) there is still plenty of time to get out and find a Nebraska gobbler or two.  In fact, I think the best of the season is just getting started.  Here’s why… The spring hunting trips I have been on this year have been filled with talkative toms. Even when …

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Join Citizen Science Series in Norfolk

LINCOLN, Neb. – Join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for the Citizen Science Series and help contribute to scientific understanding. This series of workshops will take place at the northeast district office of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, 2201 N. 13th St., Norfolk. Each workshop will begin with an instructional segment before heading outdoors to make observations. The series topics and dates are: eBird – May 2, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. This is an online real-time checklist measuring …

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Photographing wildlife … from millions of years ago

Saber-toothed cats, by Jan Vriesen

When out and about capturing photos and stories for NEBRASKAland and other Commission materials, my mind frequently wanders to what the region we now know as Nebraska’s Panhandle looked like long ago. While at Fort Robinson State Park, I cannot help but think about how it must have appeared as an active military post in the 1800s — lively with U.S. Cavalry soldiers instead of today’s tourists. A drive through the ghost town of Orella on the serene and scenic …

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Northeast District Birding Day will be May 16

LINCOLN, Neb. – Birders of all experience levels are invited to join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for the Northeast District Birding Day on May 16 at Keller Park State Recreation Area (SRA). Flights of birders will depart from the SRA picnic shelter at 5 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Coffee and rolls will be served at 9 a.m. and a lunch will be served at noon for a small fee. Participants should bring binoculars, camera, field guide, insect repellant, …

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Public urged to leave wildlife babies alone

LINCOLN, Neb. – It is natural for some people who see a young wild animal apparently abandoned by its mother to want to rescue it. The correct course of action is to leave it alone. Here are some rules of thumb from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission regarding wildlife babies: — A lone fawn, or other young bird or mammal, may appear to be abandoned or injured, but the mother frequently is off feeding or drinking. Do not move …

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