Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Silcock, “Fall Field Report, August-November 2007,” from Nebraska Bird Review (December 2007) 75(4).


Copyright 2007 Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union. Used by permission.


This was essentially a normal fall season in Nebraska, with no major weather events or significant shifts in breeding or migration ranges, although a possible exception is a first record of Lesser Goldfinch breeding in the state. One observer made the point, though, that the hard freeze in the spring affected seed and fruit crops for fall, most conspicuously resulting in fewer large American Robin flocks. Excellent water conditions in the Rainwater Basin were welcome, but few herons and egrets were present, and no unusual breeding events were reported there.

As winter approached, however, increased numbers of a few finch species were noted. Most conspicuous was Purple Finch, which was reported statewide, unusual in the west, where it is normally rare. Other species showing well were Pine Siskin and Red-breasted Nuthatch (OK, it's not a finch!) Although Mountain Chickadee appeared in good numbers on the Colorado Plains, they were not much in evidence in Nebraska.

A few species were found in notable numbers: scoters continued their upward trend of recent years, a flock of 30-35 Whooping Cranes must have spectacular, rather incredible flocks of Purple Martins went over Omaha, and 36 Nelson's Sharptailed Sparrows were counted at one location. Other items of interest were the several species of shorebirds lingering rather late, the slow recovery of Black-capped Chickadees, and proof of a late summer influx and breeding by Marsh Wren, a phenomenon previously attributed mainly to Sedge Wren.

Two species appeared in the east unexpectedly: a Broad-tailed Hummingbird in Bellevue was a first for that species in eastern Nebraska while a MacGillivray's Warbler was photographed in Dodge Co.

With a state list of 448, additions are tough to come by, but there were two this fall, an emaciated Royal Tern that generously decided to expire within the state boundaries, and at least one apparently all-dark frigatebird, unfortunately unidentifiable to species, but still the first documented frigatebird for the state. A pair of 5th state records was provided by a Gray Flycatcher and a Black-throated Gray Warbler. And we would be remiss if we failed to note that the Curve-billed Thrasher in Sioux Co will celebrate his 5th anniversary of residence there in October!