Home » Wildlife » Nongame Bird Blog

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.

Sound of summer going silent


So here we are at the end of summer.  I always have mixed feelings this time of year.  I am excited about cooler weather, fall migration, and football, but I also always feel a bit bummed thinking about all the summer birds that will soon be leaving us for warmer climes.  It happens quickly, with each passing week more species depart, migrating south, not to be seen again until spring 2016.  As I was out birding on Sunday, I was ... Read More »

First time in a hundred years

Eared Grebes with young

On Sunday, I once again ventured to the Rainwater Basin to follow-up on some nesting birds I’ve been tracking.  One visit was to a site to check on a small aggregation (11 nests) of breeding Eared Grebes I found on 7 July. Eared Grebes are fairly common spring and fall migrants throughout Nebraska.  This species is also a fairly common breeder in the Sandhills, but south of the Platte River breeding records are few.  The discovery of nesting Eared Grebes in the ... Read More »

Growing up Mudhen

coot chick 2

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I’ve spent some time this summer in a few Rainwater Basin marshes surveying breeding birds.  Arguably the most common breeding species I observed was the American Coot.  My forays into the marsh allowed me to observe this species during its breeding cycle, from combative territorial squabbles between pairs to awkward chicks taking their first swim.  Coots are often referred to as mudhens.  They are duck-like, but they are not ducks.  They are members of the ... Read More »

Attracting hummingbirds – it’s time


This blog post was originally published on August 3rd, 2014.  On Sunday afternoon, I observed my first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the fall migration.  Thus, bringing it back as a reminder that it is indeed time to put out a hummingbird feeder if you have not already done so.    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 ... Read More »

Critical mass: Glossy Ibis are everywhere

Fullscreen capture 7232015 74402 PM

A couple weeks ago, I blogged about discovering Glossy Ibis nesting in the Rainwater Basin.  This species has been increasing in the state since its first documented occurrence in 1999.  Glossy Ibis are similar in appearance to the more common White-faced Ibis.  White-faced Ibis have also increased in our state over the last several decades.  On Tuesday of this week, I found myself driving down Highway 2 between Lakeside and Antioch in Sheridan County and was amazed by the numbers of ... Read More »

Ospreys on the verge of success?

An adult Osprey on its nest.

Ospreys first nested in Nebraska in 2008 and there have been nesting attempts about every year since.  However, I do not believe there is firm evidence any of the nesting attempts have been successful (young are not known to have fledged from any nest).  This may finally be the year Nebraska Ospreys register one or two in the win column.  I was recently on the road in western Nebraska and had a chance to check in on a nest near Lake McConaughy.  This ... Read More »

Cormorants nesting in Rainwater Basin

Double-crested Cormorants

I was back birding in the Rainwater Basin on Saturday (18 July).  The most surprising find of the day was the discovery of two Double-crested Cormorant pairs with nests at a large wetland.  The nests appeared to be mostly completed.  One bird, though, was observed bringing sticks to its nest and the females on both nests were not fixated on nest contents.  Thus, I suspect no one has laid any eggs yet.  This observation represents the first known nesting by this ... Read More »

Jeepers – feather loss and bald birds

This male Northern Cardinal's appearance

The Fourth of July has come and gone, and summer is now about doldrums and dog days.  You’ve raised your offspring and sent them on their way.  Now, a little “me time” is in order to improve your plumage.  Ok, maybe not so much for you, but for some of our familiar feathered friends, it is that time of year.  Maintaining a fine-looking plumage is not easy and feathers wear out.   Thus, all birds molt during their annual cycle to ... Read More »

Glossy Ibis nesting – a Nebraska first

Nesting Glossy Ibis

The population increase and range expansion of the Glossy Ibis is one of the more interesting avian stories of the last quarter century.  Nebraska claimed it first documented record not that long ago in 1999.  In less than two decades since, Glossy Ibis have essentially become regular (annual) in occurrence in our state.  It is not unusual nowadays for multiple birds to be reported in a single season.  This species has also increased throughout the Great Plains and has been found nesting in ... Read More »

The upside down jewel of the prairie


With so much ornithology occurring in a Nebraska prairie in June, it is easy to become distracted.  A few bird species, though, capture one’s attention and won’t let go.  One of those species is the Bobolink, a bird  so marvelous it has been a subject of several poems (e.g., 1 2 3), including those penned by Emily Dickinson. My first memories of Bobolinks were as a young kid in the pastures around Sprick’s Pond, a local fishing hot spot in Washington County.  In addition ... Read More »