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Latest Features

At-risk Species Spotlight: Northern Saw-whet Owl

At-risk Species Spotlight is a new, monthly blog post that will highlight one Nebraska animal that is at risk of extinction, with the goal of bringing awareness to the incredible diversity of wildlife we have in the state. See the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project to learn more about the conservation needs of these animals and the efforts to conserve them.    By Olivia DaRugna, Watchable Wildlife Biologist Owls are captivating and mysterious creatures of the night. Rarely seen but often …

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Why Kearney Will Become a Second Minneapolis

By David L. Bristow, History Nebraska Kearney was booming in 1889 when city boosters commissioned a promotional book The City of Kearney, Nebraska. A copy of this boastful, lavishly illustrated book is in History Nebraska’s collections. Divided into brief sections, the book covers topics such as “Why Kearney Must Become a Railroad Center,” “Why Kearney Will Be a Large Manufacturing Center,” “Why Kearney Will Become a Second Minneapolis,” and others. Most pages also feature beautiful engravings of local scenes. Kearney …

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The Process of Pellets

By Monica Macoubrie, Wildlife Education Specialist One of my favorite activities to do with students is to dissect owl pellets. Now, before you freak out about children looking through poop or puke, take a step back and know that it is neither. A pellet is a pellet, but what exactly is it? Owls are raptors, or birds of prey. Simply put, they hunt and eat the animals that they catch. These birds will eat a variety of prey, such as …

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Listening for Bats

Surveying and Monitoring Nebraska Species By Leslie Reed, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Elusive creatures of the night, bats fly silently and erratically in the dark. They hide in nooks and crannies and caves. Because of these ghostly qualities, humans often don’t realize when bats are nearby. A University of Nebraska–Lincoln scientist is working with the U.S. Geological Survey, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and other federal and state agencies to use acoustic detectors to survey bat species and populations in …

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Searching for Spotted Skunks

And How Nebraskans Can Help By Alie Mayes, Community Science Specialist What’s black and white, and does stinky handstands when frightened? Why, the eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius), of course! It’s not surprising if you’re not familiar with the eastern spotted skunk – or spotted skunk — as the rare mammal has not been reported in the state since 2017. In fact, there have only been four confirmed sightings of the spotted skunk in Nebraska since 2009, all in the …

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Tapping for Liquid Gold

Story and photos by Renae Blum The tree sap begins to flow. It looks — and almost tastes — like water. But, after being boiled for an hour, it reduces into what Dan Hejl calls “liquid gold” — syrup he collects himself. It’s a tradition Hejl looks forward to every year. The Pleasant Dale, Nebraska, man collects sap from the same woods he hunts in, and gifts landowners with a jar of the highly prized black walnut syrup. Black walnut …

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Have Dogs, Will Hunt

Story and photos by Eric Fowler With pheasant and quail season heading into its third and final month, roughly one-third of upland hunters have packed it in for the year. Not Mike Plate and Aric Werner. Plate grew up in Kimball, hunting pheasants and quail behind his father’s pointers around the Panhandle. Werner hunted pheasants in central Nebraska with his father while growing up in Grand Island, sans dogs. The two, who live in Alma and Republican City, respectively, have …

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January Wildlife Viewing – Go Owling

By Olivia DaRugna, Watchable Wildlife Biologist Don’t let cold temperatures keep you cooped up inside this winter. January is a great time to look and listen for owls, an activity known as “owling.” Regardless of where you live in Nebraska or your birding skill level, anyone can enjoy watching and listening for owls. Owls are one of the earliest nesting birds in Nebraska, and because of this, winter is a great time to listen for them. Great horned owls (Bubo …

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Venison Pot Pie

By Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley Servings: 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 4 hours and 30 minutes Ingredients: • 1 pound of venison stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed but cold • Salt and freshly cracked pepper • 4 tbs. all-purpose flour, separated • 1 pound of baby bella mushrooms, quartered • Cooking oil • 1 medium onion, chopped • 1 medium to large carrot, peeled and large diced • 2 anchovy filets packed in …

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Winter Wildlife Watching

By Renae Blum Winter is a great time to explore the outdoors and look for wildlife. While some species have migrated or are hibernating, quite a few are still active at this time of year. And thanks to fewer leaves on the trees, they’re easier to spot, too. Watchable Wildlife biologist Olivia DaRugna offered these tips for enjoying wildlife watching this winter. What species can I see? Winter is a great time to watch for bald eagles. They can be …

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