Date of this Version
“The 2003-2004 Nebraska Nest Report” from Nebraska Bird Review (March 2005) 73(1).
Due to the fact that I was recalled to active duty by the US Army, I have been out of the state for the past two years. Hence, the number of observations made will be much abbreviated, and the usual comments on climatic conditions will be more limited.
A brief visit to the western Panhandle in June 2003 revealed that at least the southwestern Panhandle received enough rain to grow a crop of wheat, and there was more grass on the hills than in the previous several years. Despite this, some other parts of the state, especially the western Republican River drainage and the Sandhills, remained dry. In 2004 the Panhandle and western Republican Valley again remained dry through most of the breeding season, although rains returned to some areas later in the season. The northwestern Panhandle remained especially dry, with pastures in some areas virtually without grass, and ranchers again forced to sell off breeding stock. These climatic conditions doubtless affected the birds, with species requiring more humid conditions adversely affected, while xerophilous species like Lark Bunting and Cassin's Sparrow may have found expanded breeding opportunities.
Observations reported on NEBirds are not included unless additional details have been obtained because those reports are usually included in the seasonal reports.