Date of this Version
The drought that began in 1999 continued over most of Nebraska this year, with 7 of the past 8 years receiving lower than normal rainfall. More normal rains fell in April and early May, especially in the central and east, before stopping for most of the summer. Most of the Panhandle and southwest were declared drought disaster areas by early summer, setting the stage in late July for the worst fire season in memory in the Pine Ridge area of the northern Panhandle (Fowler, 2007). Ultimately, 83 of 93 counties were declared part of the drought disaster area. Low water levels made for a disastrous breeding season for waterbirds in the western Sandhills, and with mid-summer finding many potholes and ponds dry or nearly so, it appeared that many waterbirds either left or just "hung out" for the season.
With the Nebraska Breeding Bird Atlas Project II getting underway this year, many more records of breeding were received than could be reported here in detail. Well over 500 nests were reported. involving 122 species from 54 counties around the state. Despite the increase in reports, there remain gaps in the information available about many of our breeding birds. Details about when nest-building begins, egg dates, dates and age of young in the nest, fledging, how long the young are cared for after they leave the nest, habitat used. nest placement, etc., are still needed for nearly all species, and should be recorded and reported.