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Nebraska’s next bird species?

Nebraska has had a spate of rare birds recently.  Some of the highlights include not one but two Harris’s Hawks, Black Vulture and a Williamson’s Sapsucker.  None of these big time rarities are first state records.   An Anna’s Hummingbird in Omaha late last year was the most recent addition to Nebraska’s official list.  A Pacific Wren captured and banded at Chadron State Park this fall will be up for consideration by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee, the body that evaluates rare bird reports.  So that gets us up to where we are at presently, but what about the future?

In the most recent issue of the Burrowing Owl, which is the newsletter of the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, venerable birders Mark Brogie and Ross Silcock (pictured below with Brogie is on the left) were asked what species they believe are most likely to be added to the official list of Nebraska birds in the future.

Each of them provided ten species ranked from 1 to 10, with 1 being the most likely to be added next, that they believe are most likely to occur in Nebraska in the future and will be added to the state list.  These predictions are based on their extensive knowledge and expertise.  Their lists are below. 

All of these are quite exciting prospects.  Several of these species have been recorded in adjacent states, so it may only be a matter of time before Nebraska claims all of them.  It should be noted that there are a few near misses on their lists as Nebraska has suggestive, albeit unaccepted, reports for Slaty-backed Gull, Flammulated Owl and Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay.  Time will test Brogie’s and Silcock’s predictions, but there will also be surprises.  Neither one of them listed the species in the photo, below.  Great Kiskadees have occurred in Oklahoma and in 2015, one showed up in South Dakota.  This could be one of the surprises, but now that I’ve mentioned it, maybe it won’t be such a surprise.

These lists originally appeared in the The Burrowing Owl.   To read several more article about Nebraska birds and birding, read the full newsletter HERE.

Good birding!

About Joel Jorgensen

Joel Jorgensen is a Nebraska native and he has been interested in birds just about as long as he has been breathing. He has been NGPC’s Nongame Bird Program Manager for eight years and he works on a array of monitoring, research, regulatory and conservation issues. Nongame birds are the 400 or so species that are not hunted and include the Whooping Crane, Least Tern, Piping Plover, Bald Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon. When not working, he enjoys birding.

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