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

Panhandle Passages: The Great White Turkey

Wild turkeys, one of which is likely a "smoky gray" phase bird, walk through grass in the Nebraska National Forest. (Photo by Justin Haag)

As I was driving through the Nebraska National Forest southeast of Chadron on Thursday, a pleasant surprise greeted me as I rounded a bend in the road. Discovering a flock of wild turkeys is certainly no cause for amazement these days but one bird predominantly covered by white feathers stood out among the group. The big bird didn’t give me much time to get a photo before it disappeared over the horizon, but you should be able to see that ... Read More »

Please report Whooping Crane sightings

Whooping Crane identification

With four Whooping Cranes already in Texas and four more recently reported along the Platte River, it is time to remind folks to be on the lookout for Whooping Cranes in Nebraska.  Over the next several weeks the rest of the population of Whooping Cranes in the Central Flyway is expected to migrate through Nebraska.  The Nongame Bird Program leads our agency’s efforts to track these birds as they move through the state, but we rely on a great deal of ... Read More »

Bald Birds

Photo by Steve Zechmann

Northern cardinals are familiar birds found throughout most of Nebraska. But sometimes familiar species can become unfamiliar by exhibiting an odd plumage. Sometimes an explanation for such an aberration is well-known and readily available. Other times an explanation is more elusive. The entirely bald head exhibited by this northern cardinal is unusual, but not unprecedented. Birds similar to this have been observed throughout the species’ range. However, why a cardinal would lose essentially all of its head feathers at one ... Read More »

An Old Coot Trick

Spread of Coot

It happens just about every year.  The ducks that are around have been around for a while and they seem to have it all figured out.  They not only avoid your decoys, many disappear during shooting hours and those that stick around land on the wrong side of the pond. Some call it the October Lull.  But all of us wildfowlers grumble bad words as we watch our lonely dekes bobbing in the water. We try our best to derive ... Read More »

Fish Eagles

Osprey_(Pandion_haliaetus)_with_fish,_in_Morro_Bay,_CA

I have been on the water a bit this week.  It is fall and the “fish eagles”, more appropriately ospreys, are definitely migrating through the state right now.  While fishing, every now and then my partners and I have heard a big splash and glanced over to see an osprey flying away with a fish.  Yes, they are strictly predators of fish, yes, fish I could be catching, but they do not get a lot and they sure are interesting to ... Read More »

The Beneficial Beetle

beetle

When you hear the term beneficial insect, pollinators like bees or butterflies probably come to mind. Or maybe you think of predatory insects such as the praying mantis or spiders. Either way these good bugs sure are nice to have around. There is another insect, though less glamorous than butterflies or ladybugs, but arguably just as important – the dung beetle. These industrious little workers are the waste disposal engineers of the insect world. If they weren’t around, it would ... Read More »

Cottonwoods – disappearing along lower Platte River?

Seedling Cottonwood trees which have colonized a lower Platte River sandbar

The sound of rustling cottonwood leaves blowing in the breeze on a summer’s day along the lower Platte River is commonplace, but will this always be the case?  Every summer since 2006 I have spent time during the summer on the lower Platte River conducting field work on Piping Plovers and Interior Least Terns.  Much of that time was spent in a kayak.  During my many treks down the river I had time to observe and ponder my surroundings.   ... Read More »

NPR features success of the TPCP

Mary Bomberger Brown and Lauren Dinan

In case you missed it, there was an excellent piece on the radio this week featuring the work of the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership (TPCP).  The TPCP works with Interior Least Terns and Piping Plovers in eastern Nebraska at sand and gravel mines and lakeshore housing developments in eastern Nebraska.  Interior Least Terns are state and federally listed as endangered and Piping Plovers are state and federally listed as threatened.   One reason the radio segment is noteworthy is because ... Read More »

Old Hunter Tales, Myths and Outright Lies

Hens on the Ends

We hunters are continually in search of tips and secrets that will help out in the pursuit of our prey.  We read articles, watch videos, talk to biologists and listen to experienced hunters.  There are many great sources of good information.  There is also a lot of misinformation out there.  Some are Old Hunter Tales, others are often repeated myths and a few simply outright lies. I have several people to thank for getting me into duck hunting.  Rhett was ... Read More »

Peregrine Falcon after hours rescue

cornered Peregrine Falcon

I received a call after hours Friday evening from the State Patrol at the Capitol Building informing me that a Peregrine Falcon was trapped on the 14th Floor observation deck.  This is the area that is open to the public where folks can go out and view the city.  I assembled myself and made the short trek over to the Capitol.  The photos, below, explain the subsequent events. Again, ol’ 19/K was not injured and can hopefully put the episode behind ... Read More »