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Nongame Bird Blog

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. Joel Jorgensen has been NGPC’s Nongame Bird Program Manager for eight years and he works on a array of monitoring, research, regulatory and conservation issues.

Kestrels laying eggs – already!

Kestrel eggs

It is spring and in the spring a young kestrel’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.   In this case, the love has happened a little earlier than expected.  Many know we (NGPC) have live streaming video coming from our kestrel nestbox that sits on the north wall of our headquarters building in Lincoln. The American Kestrels have already laid two eggs as of 26 March, which is the earliest I can remember them getting started with this springtime ritual.  Expect a ... Read More »

Pelicans, pelagic trips and Harlan County Lake


On Monday (23 March) I had a great time assisting with a national media tour highlighting American White Pelicans and birding at Harlan County Lake.  The event is part of Harlan County Tourism’s Pelican Watch and Homecoming Celebration.  I served as a bird expert during the “pelagic trip” portion of the tour.  Clem Klaphake and Lauren Dinan also participated in this capacity.  This was yet another chance to help show off Nebraska’s birding opportunities to visitors, most of whom came from out-of-state. The term ... Read More »

Showing off Nebraska’s migration spectacle

Most Snow and Ross's Geese have already migrated north of Nebraska.  However, a few lingering and relatively small flocks are still an impressive site.  This flock, along with a number of ducks, was at Hultine Waterfowl Production Area in Clay County.

On Thursday (19 March), I led a field trip for Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival.  All thirteen participants came to Nebraska to see our spring migration spectacle.  All were from far off destinations that included Los Angeles, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Denver, New Mexico and Kentucky.  The field trip provided me with an opportunity to show off Nebraska as well as see some birds for myself.  We began our day with a stop at the Plautz Crane viewing platform, located 1.5 miles south ... Read More »

Sandhill Cranes Arriving Late?

Sandhill Cranes

Any long time resident of Nebraska knows there is no such thing as a “normal” spring*.  This spring provides more evidence.  The bitter cold snap of late February extended into the first days of March and today (16 March) the afternoon temperatures are going to be bumping 90.   Long time resident birders and birdwatchers know that weather in late winter/early spring will affect the progression (e.g., arrival) of the first waves of migrant birds.  The bitter late winter cold snap, which ... Read More »

The battle for Omaha

Joel Jorgensen/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

In late February, the news that the long-time resident male Peregrine Falcon at the Capitol was spotted at the nestbox up at the Woodmen Building in downtown Omaha was shared on this blog.  In an expanded article in the Lincoln Journal Star, I noted that Peregrine Falcons will battle over breeding territories, even to the death.  We often do not see the battles, but if you needed evidence they occur, check out this YouTube video captured by Carolyn Evans from the ... Read More »

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 »