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

What Does the Buck Say?

1280px-White-tailed_deer

A year or so ago there was this song/music video that enjoyed some popularity.  It was something about “What Does the Fox Say?” I guess I am getting old and apparently ain’t too hip on my pop culture, because I did not get it. I found something similar on the internet, a spoof, “What Does the Buck Say?”  I can relate to it a little more. Now, before someone complains, I am not condoning the unsafe practices that might be ... Read More »

Let the Bird Season Begin

The Pheasant Crew

As I pointed out in a 2012 Blog,  tomorrow (10/25) marks the beginning of a new year for many upland bird hunters.  And according to the 2014 Upland Game Outlook we can expect to do a bit better than last year, especially with quail.  I hope this an upward trend that continues for some time – suitable habitat and weather being the limiting factors – and know I am not alone. I am a bird hunter, with a slight bias ... Read More »

Smoky Gray Photos

Scott Justice of Chadron harvested this turkey of the erythristic, or red, color phase. (Submitted photo)

“Smoky gray” isn’t often a quality we photographers seek in images, but it’s a different story when it comes to turkeys. I was pleased to receive a few photos of smoky gray phase wild turkeys after requesting them in a post last week. While most of the responses I received were from northwestern Nebraska, it appears some really unique birds, ranging from all white plumage to a colorful mix, are seen on occasion throughout the state. The most eye-catching of ... Read More »

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 »