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Wildlife

Bald Birds

Northern cardinals are familiar birds found throughout most of Nebraska. But sometimes familiar species can become unfamiliar by exhibiting an odd plumage. Sometimes an explanation for such an aberration is well-known and readily available. Other times an explanation is more elusive. The entirely bald head exhibited by this northern cardinal is unusual, but not unprecedented. Birds similar to this have been observed throughout the species’ range. However, why a cardinal would lose essentially all of its head feathers at one …

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An Old Coot Trick

It happens just about every year.  The ducks that are around have been around for a while and they seem to have it all figured out.  They not only avoid your decoys, many disappear during shooting hours and those that stick around land on the wrong side of the pond. Some call it the October Lull.  But all of us wildfowlers grumble bad words as we watch our lonely dekes bobbing in the water. We try our best to derive …

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Fish Eagles

I have been on the water a bit this week.  It is fall and the “fish eagles”, more appropriately ospreys, are definitely migrating through the state right now.  While fishing, every now and then my partners and I have heard a big splash and glanced over to see an osprey flying away with a fish.  Yes, they are strictly predators of fish, yes, fish I could be catching, but they do not get a lot and they sure are interesting to …

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The Beneficial Beetle

When you hear the term beneficial insect, pollinators like bees or butterflies probably come to mind. Or maybe you think of predatory insects such as the praying mantis or spiders. Either way these good bugs sure are nice to have around. There is another insect, though less glamorous than butterflies or ladybugs, but arguably just as important – the dung beetle. These industrious little workers are the waste disposal engineers of the insect world. If they weren’t around, it would …

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Old Hunter Tales, Myths and Outright Lies

We hunters are continually in search of tips and secrets that will help out in the pursuit of our prey.  We read articles, watch videos, talk to biologists and listen to experienced hunters.  There are many great sources of good information.  There is also a lot of misinformation out there.  Some are Old Hunter Tales, others are often repeated myths and a few simply outright lies. I have several people to thank for getting me into duck hunting.  Rhett was …

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Youth Waterfowlin’

Youth-only waterfowl seasons are nothing new.  They have been around for about a decade and a half.  I took part almost religiously for the first half of their existence, thanks largely to my involvement with the local Ducks Unlimited chapter and my excitement for being in the marsh.  Though, my interest in the special event has not waned, my fall work obligations have all but kept me from taking part.  Not this year.  This year will be different…in more than …

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Panhandle Passages: One for the Snakes

After visiting with a Chadron community service organization last week, I wrapped up the presentation with a slideshow of wildlife photos from western Nebraska and moved on to questions. One question kind of caught me off-guard. A friend in the audience asked why I hadn’t included any photos of snakes. I didn’t even realize that I had not given any time to reptiles, but he was right. I was certainly guilty of favoring other classes above reptiles. Mammals, birds, amphibians …

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Footsteps Through McKelvie

A lot of people can tell you about the beauty of the Sandhills from the road, the forever green dunes rolling by at sixty five miles an hour. Or they can wax poetic from the seat of a canoe or tube—the slow meander of sandy bluffs and horizontal cedar trees. To many Nebraskans, the Sandhills are its scenic secret, an entire ecology different from anything else in the world.  But the very thing that makes them so beautiful also makes …

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Migrations Have Begun

I know it is August, and folks do not think that “fall” starts until September.  But if you look for the subtle signs, fall has already begun.  I was reminded of that earlier this week when my “co-blogger” Joel Jorgensen blogged about Attracting Hummingbirds–It’s Time .  If you watch closely, you will start seeing some Monarch butterflies heading south on a north wind, and now is when the hummingbirds are migrating back through Nebraska.  It will not be long and the …

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Throwback Thursday: Exaggeration Postcards

Fishing and hunting yarns and photos have always been part of Nebraska’s great outdoor scene. Beginning in the early 1900s and for decades thereafter, Nebraska postcards depicted altered, exaggerated images of game, fish and agriculture. These were done to promote the unique aspects of a place or product as well as to document local history. They were also used to lure folks to the Cornhusker State to hunt, fish or visit. Considered western-style humor, these exaggeration postcards were extremely popular …

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