Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Silcock, “Winter Field Report, December 2007 to February 2008,” from Nebraska Bird Review (March 2008) 76(1).


Copyright 2008 Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union. Used by permission.


This winter in Nebraska was much colder on average than the few previous winters, not so much because of low temperatures, but a lack of warmer days. This kept water bodies frozen most of the winter, with far fewer than usual midwinter water-bird records. Surprisingly, though, passerines, including some surprises, were able to brave the coolness. Notable were three species of wood-warblers; although Yellow-rumped Warblers winter to some extent in the southeast, 9 of the 21 total February records for the species have come in the last two winters. The others were not unprecedented for Nebraska, and are known to be somewhat cold-tolerant: Yellow-throated and Pine Warblers. Sparrows were also in evidence, with Fox Sparrow an occasional winterer, but Chipping and Field Sparrows, especially the latter, are rare in midwinter. Another group usually absent in midwinter involved two icterids, Great-tailed Grackle and Brown-headed Cowbird.

Purple Finches were reported statewide in good numbers, a definite incursion or even invasion by this species. Most notable were good numbers in the Panhandle, where Purple Finches are usually rare to absent. Western sections of the state had a minor incursion of Mountain Chickadees, with a few noted at feeders and elsewhere.

A major rarity was a Band-tailed Pigeon that regularly appeared at a feeder in Ceresco and was eventually seen by most who looked; it was only the third for Nebraska.