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Snowy Owl surprise

I was out birding yesterday (10/29) and had the good fortune of coming across a Snowy Owl south of Bellevue.  The bird was sitting on a light pole near the intersection of Highway 34 and Harlan Lewis Road.  Photos, below. Finding a Snowy Owl in Nebraska is always a big deal, but it is usually something one hopes for in December or January, not October.   In fact, yesterday’s Snowy Owl is the earliest to appear in Nebraska in fall by …

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New Wildlife Viewing Platform at Lake Wanahoo

I’m excited to share on this blog a project that I had the privilege of being a part of and one which will make birding in eastern Nebraska more enjoyable in the future. The project includes a wildlife viewing platform, parking area and walking trail connecting the platform and parking area at the north end of Lake Wanahoo near Wahoo. The project was spearheaded by Paula Hoppe and how it came together goes something like this. Since its creation in …

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2018 Breeding Bird Survey routes available

The Breeding Bird Survey (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 BBS coordinator and perhaps my principal duty is to identify and recruit individuals to fill vacant routes.  Running a BBS requires only one morning in June to complete.  It is a great way …

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Whooping Crane population growing, but migration is changing

Wonderful news was recently released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service showing the number of Whooping Cranes in the Aransas-Wood Buffalo Population (AWBP) is larger than previously believed.   The AWBP includes the birds that migrate each spring and fall through Nebraska between wintering areas on the Gulf Coast of Texas and breeding sites in northeastern Alberta.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a report summarizing results from a survey conducted during the winter of 2016-17.   This survey …

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Nebraska’s hurricane birds

Contributed by Dr. Mary Bomberger Brown “In the eye of a hurricane, there is quiet for just a moment” –from Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda What’s a Piping Plover to do? After a busy summer nesting in Nebraska you head off to the sunny beaches of south Texas or Florida, or maybe a nice Caribbean Island, for some well-deserved R & R and what happens? You get walloped by not one, but two hurricanes (Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida …

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Attracting hummingbirds – it’s time

This blog post was originally published on August 3rd, 2014.  On Sunday afternoon, I observed my first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the fall migration.  Thus, bringing it back as a reminder that it is indeed time to put out a hummingbird feeder if you have not already done so.    I stated on this blog three years ago I get excited when the end of July rolls around because it represents the unofficial start of fall hummingbird season in Nebraska.  If you …

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White-winged Doves having banner year

White-winged Doves are one of a handful of bird species rapidly increasing in Nebraska.  The dove is a native to the American Southwest, but has been increasing in numbers and expanding its range for decades.  Nebraska had its first documented occurrence in 1994 and by the end of the 20th Century there were three more records.  The number of reports continued to increase during the 21st Century.  This is nothing new and I’ve blogged before (here and here) about White-winged …

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No miracles – Peregrine nesting unsuccessful

Unfortunately, it is safe to conclude the 2017 nesting attempt by the Capitol’s Peregrine Falcons is unsuccessful.  This is not an unexpected outcome after the pair abandoned their eggs for 2-3 days in late April.  The pair has experienced reduced egg fertility in recent years and this may have also contributed to the lack of hatching success this year  Unlike the 2016 attempt, there are no last minute surprises or miracles whereby at least one egg hatches. The Peregrine Falcons are currently down …

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Mega-rarity: Brown Booby at Harlan Co. Lake

On Tuesday morning I found myself in Sioux County on a late spring/early summer birding trip with my wife when I received a text about a possible Brown Booby observed over the Memorial Day weekend at Harlan County Lake near Alma. Brown Boobies are seabirds, typically seen on or near oceans.  Nebraska is a long way from any ocean.  So, the report had to be bogus, right?  Well, the observer and text was from Jeff Drahota who observed the bird …

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It’s May – where are the warblers?

Birders wait all winter for May to arrive because spring migration peaks during this month.  Among the many avian highlights are the warblers.  Warblers are small songbirds and there are 30+ species that regularly arrive in Nebraska in spring, primarily during May.  Some, like American Redstarts and Yellow Warblers, breed in our state while others, such as Magnolia and Chestnut-sided Warblers, are headed farther north and are only passing through Nebraska.   A few warbler species are nondescript, but other species are …

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