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

Turning 10: The Missouri River Outdoor Expo

Missouri River boat rides are a popular activity at the Missouri River Outdoor Expo.  Jon Farrar/NEBRASKAland Magazine

More than 52,000 visitors in two days. Nearly 1,000 volunteers. Over 100 hands-on exhibits. Sixteen trolleys. Three locations in one park. Two world-record holders. One decade. As the Missouri River Outdoor Expo reaches a number of milestones, perhaps the most notable is the countless memories created each year at Ponca State Park. Located along the Missouri River near Ponca, the park transforms into a busy city – Nebraska’s fourth largest during the event – accommodating thousands of outdoor enthusiasts of ... Read More »

Four days birding western Nebraska

Northern Waterthrush

I was off last Friday and Monday and took a four-day weekend birding trip to western Nebraska.  The end of August and early September is one the most exciting times to go birding because migration peaks for many species, particularly passerines (songbirds).  Once we move past early September, the number of species leaving our part of the world for warmer climes increases quickly .  Many species like orioles, kingbirds and warblers will soon be all but summer memories.  Fall migration occurs in ... Read More »

Panhandle Passages: One for the Snakes

The snake uses its forked tongue, which many snake-haters find disturbing, to sense chemicals in the air and gain clues of the presence of predators and prey. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

After visiting with a Chadron community service organization last week, I wrapped up the presentation with a slideshow of wildlife photos from western Nebraska and moved on to questions. One question kind of caught me off-guard. A friend in the audience asked why I hadn’t included any photos of snakes. I didn’t even realize that I had not given any time to reptiles, but he was right. I was certainly guilty of favoring other classes above reptiles. Mammals, birds, amphibians ... Read More »

Kestrels defy odds – pull off second brood

junior2

It has been a while since I blogged about our American Kestrels and their late-season breeding attempt.  It now appears the pair is on the verge of success.  As kestrel-watchers already know, only one of the four eggs in the pair’s second clutch hatched.  The lone chick has grown quickly; the bird’s fluffy white appearance is no more.  The young female resembles an adult American Kestrel and I expect it will leave its nestbox in the next few days. As wrote in ... Read More »

Four plants for hummingbirds

Black-and-blue salvia

In my recent post about attracting hummingbirds, I briefly mentioned how incorporating certain plants into your yard will help attract hummingbirds.  I stated it was perhaps the subject of another blog post, and so it is.  Below, I list four plants that hummingbirds seem to favor based on my experience.  Their hummingbird appeal is just one factor in my determination.  I also considered ease/difficulty of growing here in Nebraska and also just my own personal preference for the plants’ aesthetic appeal.  I only consider ... Read More »

Footsteps Through McKelvie

ZB_08192014

A lot of people can tell you about the beauty of the Sandhills from the road, the forever green dunes rolling by at sixty five miles an hour. Or they can wax poetic from the seat of a canoe or tube—the slow meander of sandy bluffs and horizontal cedar trees. To many Nebraskans, the Sandhills are its scenic secret, an entire ecology different from anything else in the world.  But the very thing that makes them so beautiful also makes ... Read More »

Piping Plovers returning to Gulf Coast

Honeymoon Island Plover

Contributed by Lauren Dinan, Nongame Bird Biologist After spending the last three months nesting here in Nebraska, Piping Plovers have migrated south. Several of our lower Platte River plovers have already been re-sighted at their wintering sites along the Gulf Coast. These observations include a re-sighting of Erwin, our famous Piping Plover.  Erwin is famous because he has been observed numerous times in winter in Florida. Erwin was banded as a three-day old chick at a lakeshore housing development in Dodge County, Nebraska, in June ... Read More »

Migrations Have Begun

800px-Archilochus_colubris_(Male)

I know it is August, and folks do not think that “fall” starts until September.  But if you look for the subtle signs, fall has already begun.  I was reminded of that earlier this week when my “co-blogger” Joel Jorgensen blogged about Attracting Hummingbirds–It’s Time .  If you watch closely, you will start seeing some Monarch butterflies heading south on a north wind, and now is when the hummingbirds are migrating back through Nebraska.  It will not be long and the ... Read More »

Attracting hummingbirds – it’s time

Rufous Hummingbird

As I stated on this blog about two years ago, I get excited when August rolls around because it represents the unofficial start of fall hummingbird season in Nebraska.  If you have never put out a hummingbird feeder or if you have become frustrated when you did because you never saw a hummingbird, the time is right to give it a try or to try again.  Understanding a few details about Nebraska’s hummingbirds and feeders is important to be successful. ... Read More »

Throwback Thursday: Exaggeration Postcards

Photo Source: Nebraska State Historical Society.

Fishing and hunting yarns and photos have always been part of Nebraska’s great outdoor scene. Beginning in the early 1900s and for decades thereafter, Nebraska postcards depicted altered, exaggerated images of game, fish and agriculture. These were done to promote the unique aspects of a place or product as well as to document local history. They were also used to lure folks to the Cornhusker State to hunt, fish or visit. Considered western-style humor, these exaggeration postcards were extremely popular ... Read More »