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Flora & Fauna

Bluegill are a great catch for summer fishing

It’s hot. It’s humid. Whew! Yeah, it’s summer alright. Hey, has your fishing success slowed with the conditions? I though so. Well, one fish leads the way with lots of action for anglers in the good, old summertime — bluegill. A male bluegill stands guard on its nest in a southern Nebraska pond. Underwater photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Maybe it’s the kid in me, I don’t know. But, at 61 years of age (approaching 62), …

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Nebraska’s Fast Snakes

Snakes include remarkably fast species that can outpace many predators and prey. By Monica Macoubrie, Wildlife Education Specialist When we think of fast animals, cheetahs sprinting across the African Savannah or peregrine falcons diving through the sky might come to mind. However, some of the speediest creatures can be found much closer to the ground, slithering through grasslands, forests and deserts. Snakes, often perceived as slow movers, include some remarkably fast species that can outpace many predators and prey. Strike …

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Mulberries!

Maybe it’s just the kid in me, but I love to pick and eat mulberries! Your blogger enjoys eating ripe mulberries right off of the tree! Photo by Katie Stacey/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Growing up on the rural western edge of Gretna, NE, my buddies and I would always bug the area neighbors and farmers for permission to pick and eat ripe mulberries along their woodland edges and fencelines this time of year. It marked the start of summer …

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Nebraska Nature in Color – Purple Martins

In the Eastern United States, purple martins primarily nest in human-made structures. By Alie Mayes, Community Science Specialist My niece, Rowan, just turned 7 years old. Her number one passion is dragons – the winged, flying creatures that come in a variety of sizes and colors. Maybe this love for dragons is why out of all my nieces and nephews, Rowan is the most interested in birds, which are also winged, flying creatures that come in a variety of sizes …

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Going fishing? Here’s how to not let the big one get away!

All of us who love to fish have a story or two about the one that got away, don’t we? Invariably, the tale involves hooking the fish of a lifetime and losing it to unforeseen circumstances or mistakes. Trust me, I have made my share of mistakes when it comes to large, prized game fish. Your blogger mishandling a nice-sized channel catfish. Photo by Rich Berggren/Conservation Officer with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Without question, these stories, however embellished, …

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Animals Breaking Wind

Flatulence encompasses a broad spectrum of biological processes among animals. By Monica Macoubrie, Wildlife Education Specialist If you’re reading this article, you owe a debt of gratitude to my inquisitive 5-year-old daughter. One day, she posed a question that stumped me: Since our dogs fart, do other animals? Caught off guard, I could only speculate that like humans, these creatures – at least mammals – might indeed experience flatulence. Curious, I dove deeper, which led to the creation of this …

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Courting Bluegills

A first-hand account of this rare spectacle Story and photos by Eric Fowler If you’ve spent much time fishing, chances are you’ve seen a male bluegill guarding its spawning bed, a bowl-shaped depression that it fans out in the lakebed using its tail. Or numerous bluegills in a nesting colony, each guarding its own bed. If, instead of casting to those beds hoping to catch dinner, you put down your rod and reel and watched for a time, you may …

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Nebraska’s Quirky Birds

Loggerhead shrike during eclipse

Learn about four unique birds in Nebraska — the osprey, burrowing owl, loggerhead shrike and ruby-throated hummingbird. By Delanie Bruce, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies & Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Birds, as a group, are unique from other creatures. One obvious example: They are the only animals on the planet to have feathers. And among birds, there are several standouts. Here are a few unique birds found within Nebraska, notable for the adaptations and characteristics that help them survive …

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Tips for Gettin’ that Gobbler Later in the Season

We are in the latter part of the season for spring wild turkey hunting in Nebraska. Using a baseball analogy, it is the bottom of the 9th inning, your team is behind, the bases are loaded, there two outs and you are up to bat! I don’t think there is any doubt about it, spring wild turkey hunting late in the season is challenging. However, there are still plenty of gobbles to be heard and birds to be worked plus …

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Stalking Nebraska’s Wild Asparagus

The apple blossoms have emerged. Why is that important, you say? Well, it is a reliable indicator that tells me I now will find one of my most valued vegetables in Nebraska’s rural landscape — wild asparagus. The wild asparagus harvest season almost always overlaps with the emergence of apple blossoms in my eastern Nebraska area. Apple blossoms. Photo by Greg Wagner/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Sure enough, I was right! Wild asparagus emerging in early May in eastern Nebraska. …

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