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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.

Nebraska’s Third Black Vulture

By Joel Jorgensen Spring is a period when many birds are on the move. This means it is a great time of year for birders to be on the lookout for rarities or vagrants. A rarity is a bird that usually appears somewhere outside of its normal range. Finding a rarity sometimes requires special effort, but other times, it’s just luck. On April 26, birder and photographer Steve Kruse discovered a vulture on the ground at Merganser Recreation Area in …

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Raven’s Return

By Joel G. Jorgensen Before Nebraska was settled by European Americans, its vast open areas were inhabited by the common raven. Ravens are similar to American crows, but are larger with a more extensive vocal repertoire that includes husky guttural croaks. With the disappearance of the vast herds of bison in the late 1800s, the raven was soon to follow, retreating to mountainous areas of the west and forests of the far north. However, this adaptable and widespread species was …

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Northern Saw-whet Owl Migration

Northern Saw-whet Owl autumn migration in eastern Nebraska: results from a three-year banding study By Stephen J. Brenner & Joel G. Jorgensen The northern saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadius) is one the smallest owls in North America. In Nebraska, breeding has been documented in the Pine Ridge and Wildcat Hills and is suspected in the middle Niobrara river region, but its status over the remainder of the state is poorly defined. We recently concluded a three-year banding study at sites near …

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Mystery Goose Mount

Waiting 50 Years to be Told The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission occasionally receives animal mounts from individuals who want or need to unload them but do not want to see them go straight to the garbage bin. These donations, if in acceptable condition, can be used for education or to spruce up a public space. Usually the mounts the agency receives possess little or no information about where the animal was harvested or collected, as most are decades old. …

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The Red Crossbill

A distinctive finch with an unusual beak The red crossbill is a distinctive finch whose crooked beak usually catches one’s attention. Rather than being a deformity, the odd beak is an adaptation that the bird uses to extract its preferred food source – seeds from the cones of conifers such as pines, spruces and firs. Although its specialized beak may give the red crossbill an advantage in foraging on its preferred cone type, its relationship with conifer cone seeds is …

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The end of the Nongame Bird Blog

Individuals that have visited this blog over the past six years to read one or more of the 300+ posts will have noticed that the frequency and quality of the blog posts has ebbed over the last year.  The principal reason this occurred is because I have focused much of my extracurricular time and energy on the Birds of Nebraska – Online.   I have a recent post on this blog describing what that project is all about.  Because work on the …

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Looking ahead: available BBS routes in 2019

Occasionally I post on this blog about vacant Breeding Bird Survey Routes.  Usually those posts come in late winter or spring, but I am ahead of the game and already thinking about the summer of 2019. The BBS is a long-term, volunteer-driven bird monitoring program conducted throughout North America.  BBS data are used widely by wildlife agencies, researchers, birders and conservation planners.  The program began in 1966 and more information about the BBS can be found here.  I am the state …

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Introducing the Birds of Nebraska – Online

I am excited to announce the creation of a new website called the Birds of Nebraska – Online (www.birdsofnebraska.org).  The website has actually been around for a couple of months as it was being built.  Even though improvements, updates and additions will continue to be made, it is essentially completed. So what is the Birds of Nebraska – Online? The Birds of Nebraska – Online is simply a state bird reference, a resource that summarizes the status, distribution and temporal occurrence …

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Peregrine Falcons unsuccessful – again

Within the last week the Peregrine Falcons’ second nesting attempt for the year seemed to be headed down a familiar road as one, then two, of the three eggs disappeared.  On Monday (6/25) afternoon, it was looking like failure was imminent as the two birds were seemingly less interested in continual incubating the remaining egg.  On Monday, it was clear the nesting attempt was over and destined to be unsuccessful as neither bird was present at the nest box.   Below …

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Mega-rarity: Reddish Egret in Hall County

The year’s string of great birds continued over the weekend with confirmation of a Reddish Egret at the Platte River bridge crossing south of the Alda I-80 exit.  The bird was being seen from the wildlife viewing platform where many people have enjoyed Sandhill Cranes, and the occasional Whooping Crane, over the years.   The Reddish Egret was first reported as a Little Blue Heron, which is rare to uncommon in the state, but photos captured on Saturday evening clearly showed …

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