Home » Author Archives: Joel Jorgensen

Author Archives: 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.

Peregrine Falcon shocker!

19/K at the Woodmen

We received news today from our partners at the Woodmen Building that a new male Peregrine Falcon was spotted at the nestbox in downtown Omaha.  The good news was they were able to read the color band to identify this male falcon.  The shocking news was the band was very familiar, black over green and the letters 19/K.  This alphanumeric band belongs to the male Peregrine Falcon that has been one half of the nesting pair present at the Nebraska Capitol ... Read More »

What do birders want?

Birder scoping at Branched Oak Lake SRA

That is the question, what do birders want?  What I mean by want is, what factors motivate or influence birders to expend time and resources to go birding.  I am a birder and I know what I want when it comes to birding.  I have also become aware that birdwatching and birding is a highly-individualized activity.  I think that is one of its great attributes.  How anyone defines or finds value in watching or observing birds is as valid as how the next person ... Read More »

Bald Eagles Break Nest Record in 2014

Adult Bald eagle on its' nest in April 2014.

Breaking records is something we have become accustomed to since Bald Eagles started nesting in the state after a long absence. Last year was no exception, as the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and our partners surveyed 146 Bald Eagle nests in 2014 and determined 111 of them to be active. Even though a record numbers of nests is a regular occurrence, and it is human nature to be lulled by the routine, it is worth taking a few moments to consider ... Read More »

Birding Nance and Merrick Counties

Fox Sparrow

Over the past two years, I have gotten serious about county listing.  For several years, a renegade named Mark Brogie has compiled birder’s county lists for Nebraska.  A county list is simply the number of bird species an individual has seen and identified in a county.  I participated passively for many years.  I had a few favored counties where I was serious, but not all 93.  About 2 years ago I got hooked.  With nice weather over the weekend, I had a ... Read More »

Tracking Erwin: 1,325 days later

Erwin posing for a photo at Bunche Beach near Fort Myers, Florida. Photo taken by Peter Hawrylyshyn on 30 January 2015.

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist Spotted Again!   Erwin, our famous Piping Plover, that is. As many of you know, Erwin was originally banded as a three-day old chick at a lakeshore housing development in Dodge County, Nebraska, in June 2011.  Erwin has been observed numerous times in winter at Bunche Beach, near Fort Myers, Florida.  Erwin has proven predictable, always returning to the same beach in Florida within the first two weeks of August and staying there throughout ... Read More »

Searching for Nebraska Piping Plovers on the Laguna Madre

Joel Jorgensen on the Laguna Madre

Perhaps you saw Lauren Dinan’s article in Sunday’s Lincoln Journal Star about our Piping Plover color-banding project.  Maybe you also remember last year I blogged about searching for Piping Plovers on the Texas coast near Galveston that were originally banded in Nebraska by the the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership and the Nongame Bird Program.  In addition to finding one of “our” birds, I also found several Piping Plovers banded by other research groups in the northern Great Plains.  If you read ... Read More »

Eagle viewing, gulling heats up at Lake Ogallala

A Herring (left), Ring-billed (center) and Glaucous Gull at Lake Ogallala on Saturday, 10 January.

Last week our Communications staff put out this news release stating that now is a good time for eagle viewing.  It is.  A portion of my trek to twitch the Brown Pelican last Saturday included a stop at Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area.  The recent cold snap froze Lake McConaughy and almost all of Lake Ogallala.  However, this can be positive because limited open water will concentrate birds.  Since open water (and very importantly food) is present immediately in the spillway ... Read More »

Twitching Sutherland’s Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

On Saturday morning, my alarm sounded at 3:45 a.m. and I rose out of bed in order to take the three-hour drive to Sutherland Reservoir to “twitch” a Brown Pelican.  For non-birders, “twitching” is a British birding term meaning to chase after a previously located (usually rare) bird.  Brown Pelicans are typically found in coastal areas but birds occasionally wander inland.  The Brown Pelican I was chasing was found by Stephen J. Dinsmore and Kevin Murphy on 26 December 2014.  Nebraska’s ... Read More »

Harlan County CBC Recap

Bald Eagle

After a thirteen year hiatus and a one day postponement due to weather, the Harlan County Christmas Bird Count (CBC) took place 16 December 2014.  The CBC was held annually from 1996 to 2001.  This year, a group of ten birders tallied 77 species, which is above the average number of 73 species recorded 1996-2001.  Below, I touch upon a few highlights from the CBC. New CBC species:  Cackling Goose, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Mountain Bluebird, and Hermit ... Read More »

A Nebraska Peregrine Falcon appears in Texas

Joel Jorgensen/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

I received an email yesterday informing me that an adult Peregrine Falcon was sighted at the Anadarko Petroleum Corporation north of Houston in The Woodlands, Texas.  Fortunately the observer, Linda Kuhn, was not only able to see that the bird was banded, but also captured photographs of the bird, including a couple of shots which show the color band.  You can see the band in the photo, below.  So who is this falcon?  Where did it come from?  When and where ... Read More »