Date of this Version
Mollhoff, "The 2002 Nebraska Nest Report," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 2004) 72(4).
In contrast to last year, with "the winter that wouldn't end," this breeding season began with a "spring that wouldn't begin." The winter was mild and uneventful, but although the spring was neither cold nor stormy, the usual warm-up did not come, and when the weather finally warmed in May, it brought no moisture. The resulting drought was worst in the west and southwest, areas that had already been abnormally dry for several years. In mid-June in the southern Panhandle, many ranchers were still feeding hay to the cattle because the grass simply did not grow. The dry conditions surely had an effect on breeding birds of all kinds, and probably affected shorebirds and ground-nesting birds especially, due to lack of standing water and ground cover. While the absence of detailed base-line data makes the results impossible to quantify, probably some and perhaps many of the birds observed simply spent the summer without breeding. With this qualified comment comes the predictable plea for more breeding records from across the state, enabling us to build a database of detailed breeding records of selected areas by recording observations in the same area year by year, along with data on accompanying and associated environmental conditions.