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Wildlife related articles and blogs from the staff of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

LIVE Raptors at Great Outdoor Radio Show Broadcast

Denise Lewis and Great-Horned Owl. Photo Source: Fontenelle Forest Raptor Recovery.

Join me tomorrow morning for a very special edition of The Great Outdoor Radio Show I host when Denise Lewis and friends from Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Recovery team come with a few live birds to the Waterford Assisted Living facility at Miracle Hills in Omaha. See LIVE raptors of Nebraska! We’ll be highlighting the tremendous conservation work that Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Recovery does with injured, sick or orphaned raptors as well as the vital role that nongame wildlife such as raptors have in any ecosystem! The ... Read More »

Kestrel eggs hatching – again!

American Kestrel, chick and eggs

Back on 7 May I posted a brief bit about the American Kestrel eggs hatching.  It is time to do it again.  The first American Kestrel egg of the pair’s second clutch has hatched.  Below are screens shot from mid-morning (24 July).  The chick is still wet in the shots.  Once it dries, it will take on the appearance of a white fluffball. The other eggs should also hatch soon.   The KestrelCam can be viewed HERE.  Click on the ... Read More »

White-winged Doves increasing in Nebraska

White-winged Dove

In 1994, a bird species was documented in Nebraska for the first time.  Additions to Nebraska’s official state list are always exciting.  However, this occurrence was not a surprise because the species, the White-winged Dove, had been increasing in numbers and expanding its range for some time.  White-winged Doves historically were found in the U.S. only in the Southwest in states such as Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.  After the initial Nebraska record, reports increased.  By 2001, there were a total ... Read More »

Searching for the Elusive Yellow Lady’s Slipper Flower

GS_JanFeb2014

On a sunny, but muggy, morning last June, six Game and Parks Commission and Northern Prairies Land Trust biologists gathered at Indian Cave State Park. Our mission for the next two days: trek the park’s rugged, wooded hills in search of the elusive yellow lady’s-slipper orchid (Cypripedium parviflorum). A common and widespread North American species, the yellow lady’sslipper grows in coniferous and deciduous forests and wetlands across much of Canada and the U.S. Nebraska, however, supports only a handful of ... Read More »

More proof birds are cool

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Shorebirds are one of my favorite group of birds.  One reason is because they are amazing world travelers.   Technological advances, such as the use of satellite transmitters, has allowed researchers to highlight, in detail, the incredible navigation skills and physical endurance of shorebirds.  A project focused on Bar-tailed Godwits is a great example of how satellite transmitters, using the same GPS technology that gets you around an unfamiliar town, can show these birds are able to undertake feats that are ... Read More »

Stalker in the Garden

American Robin

Like many people, I enjoy turning dirt – gardening and landscaping in my yard.  Not only is it rewarding to see plants grow from meager beginnings, but these actions attracts birds.  In spring and summer when most planting and breaking-of-ground is taking place, I seem to have a stalker that is waiting to pounce the moment I step outside and grab an implement.  It is if an alarm sounds, or perhaps a dinner bell.  The stalker is an American Robin.  ... Read More »

Salt Creek Jewels

Amy Kucera/NEBRASKAland Magazine

A fog rising through the Salt Creek valley led me quietly out the door and down the driveway, past a series of dirt road intersections and directly to the gate of the Little Salt Fork Marsh Preserve near Raymond, just in time to greet the dawn. It was the barbed-wire spun in silk that first made me stop to consider the hidden creatures residing here that revealed a soft touch in sharp contrast to the tamed highway cutting through the creek. As I crossed ... Read More »

Curious happenings and healthy skepticism

Peregrine Pair

The Peregrine Falcons have suddenly been spending an unexpected amount of time at the nestbox and behaving in ways that generate curiosity.  The following screenshots were captured Sunday afternoon. All of this has some individuals wondering whether the Peregrines may “pull a kestrel” and lay a second clutch of eggs.  I would be shocked and surprised if anything of consequence occurs at the nestbox this year, but I am naturally a skeptic.  Peregrine Falcons will re-nest, but re-nesting typically occurs when ... Read More »

Bighorn Sheep Tours Set for Wildcat Hills, Fort Robinson

Bighorn sheep tour

The public will have an opportunity to view the animals known to be the best rock climbers in western Nebraska’s butte country during morning hikes at two state parks in July. Group hikes to view the region’s wild bighorn sheep are scheduled for two consecutive Saturdays – July 12 at the Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area south of Gering and Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford on July 19. Hikers will meet at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center for the ... Read More »

Encore! Encore! – American Kestrels

American Kestrel second clutch

The American Kestrels apparently had so much fun raising one brood that they have decided to do it all over again this summer.  The female kestrel has laid two eggs as of the morning of 24 June, as shown in the photo, below. American Kestrels do not typically lay a second clutch of eggs or raise a second brood.  According to the Birds of North America (BNA) species account, 11% of American Kestrels in Florida raised a second brood.   The ... Read More »