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Wildlife

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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The Year of the Snowy Owl?

There has been a notable irruption of Snowy Owls during the winter of 2013-14.    Indeed, Snowy Owls are all over the news.  They were even featured on CBS television’s evening newscast on Thursday.   All this talk has some people wondering how many Snowy Owls have been observed in Nebraska this winter.  Good question, easy answer.  The one and only report was a bird found by Michael Burgert in Pawnee County on 21 December.  His cell phone photo documentation is shown …

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A Whole Lot of Rough-legs Going On

Snowy Owls receive a lot of attention when they venture south to the conterminous U.S., as well they should.  However, there is another stunning Arctic-breeding raptor species that regularly travels south to places like Nebraska.  It generally receives little fanfare.  If you’ve traveled around the state recently (and were conscious), you’ve likely seen one or two, maybe 22.   The species I am referring to is the Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus).  Like Snowy Owls, numbers fluctuate from year to year. …

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Spotted…Again

Contributed by Nongame Bird Biologist Lauren Dinan As we are set to endure the coldest temperatures in years, “our” famous home grown Piping Plover was once again photographed on a warm beach.  Something to ponder as you shiver.  More importantly, these photographic reports document a bird’s  travels.  As you may remember from a post a few months ago, we work in cooperation with the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln School of Natural Resources in …

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Mallard X Northern Pintail hybrid

Sifting through large flocks of common species searching for uncommon or rare birds is a standard practice of birding, particularly during Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) when one of the objectives is to rack up as many species as possible.   On Saturday, 28 December, on the North Platte CBC, my party (group of birders) was sifting through a couple thousand Mallards and several hundred Canada and Cackling Geese at Bowley’s Pond.  We were successful at finding a few Greater White-fronted and …

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Top 10 Nebraska birding stories of 2013

At the end of last year, I blogged about my picks for the top ten birding/bird stories in Nebraska for 2012.  Here we are again, near the conclusion of another year and it is time to do it again.  So with no further adieu, in reverse order from ten to one, my top ten for 2013. #10 – Acorn Woodpecker:  A mega-rarity for Nebraska, an Acorn Woodpecker was discovered by Byron and Deb Alberts in Hayes County in June.  The …

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Minky

Mink are one of my favorite animals.  I am sure part of the reason for that is that it is in my blood.  My Gramps Roth trapped and mink were one of the most profitable and valued catches on his trap-line.  They have always been my favorite fur-bearer to trap too, Back on The Line. I spend most of my time fishing in a pair of waders.  Another reason I love mink is I often encounter them while I am …

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Winter birds from the weekend’s CBCs

I was out and about this past weekend helping on Christmas Bird Counts (CBC), which I recently blogged.  The Lincoln CBC was held on Saturday and the Branched Oak Lake/Seward CBC occurred on Sunday.  The early December cold snap relinquished its grip and weather was actually pleasant.  The cold snap froze most water bodies and reduced the overall number of species and bird numbers.   At this point, I have not heard of any major surprises discovered.  Nevertheless, I was …

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Bald Eagle nest numbers take unexpected dip in 2013

Bald Eagle nest monitoring is an annual project of the Nongame Bird Program.  Fortunately, we are assisted by numerous partners and individuals such as the National Park Service-Missouri River National Recreational River, the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Bald Eagles bred in the state historically but were absent as a breeding species for at least a century, if not longer.   Not all that long ago, Bald Eagles were state and federally listed as …

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Christmas Bird Counts – A Tradition Like No Other

I, like many other dedicated birders, will be out in the elements this upcoming Saturday searching for birds as Christmas Bird Count (CBCs) season kick off.  CBCs are several things:  serious birding, volunteerism, a little bit of socializing, a dash of competition, citizen science and just getting outside during a season when it can be a little too easy to find excuses not to venture out.  CBCs were initiated in 1900 by Frank Chapman as an alternative to Christmas side …

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