Date of this Version
“Winter Field Report, December 2009 to February 2010” from Nebraska Bird Review (March 2010) 78(1).
This was a long, cold winter, but effects on birds were not particularly noticeable. Perhaps the relative blandness of the reports reflected the "normal" behavior of most birds when confronted with a cold winter and the seriousness of survival: birds were in places they should have been. Carolina Wrens may have been hit (more on that in the Spring Report), but a few species were present in higher numbers than might have been expected. Rusty and Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbird were notable for higher winter numbers, as were Snow Buntings. Even more so, there were lots of Fox Sparrows, including several wintering birds, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were widespread in eastern Nebraska. Winter Wrens stayed into December in force, with few reported in January. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Townsend's Solitaires and Red Crossbills were in low numbers, as were Common Redpolls, which adhered to their apparent alternating year appearance schedule.
Encouraging was the slow but definite increase in reports of Red-shouldered Hawks in southeast Nebraska; this spring will add to the story.
Rarities were unremarkable: a Bewick's Wren was a belated 2008–2009 report. There was a single Varied Thrush and a dangerously late Yellow-throated Warbler, Nebraska's third for December.