Date of this Version
“Annual Meeting at Chadron” from Nebraska Bird Review (June 2010) 78(2).
Sixty-seven members and guests were in attendance at the 111th Annual Meeting of the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union held at Camp Norwesca on May 14–16, 2010. The Camp Norwesca campus, located just south of Chadron State Park, proved to be an excellent birding location, providing good views of Evening Grosbeaks and Red Crossbills. Evening Grosbeaks were also found at Chadron State Park and at Beaver Wall in Sheridan Co.
Field trips were led by Wayne Mollhoff, Kathy DeLara, Ann Duey, Alice Kenitz, and Bruce and Donna Walgren. Rain on Saturday morning caused some last-minute changes to the trip itineraries. Among the locations visited were Gilbert·Baker WMA, Fort Robinson State Park, White River, Chadron Creek Ranch WMA, Chadron State Park, Oglala National Grasslands, Beaver Wall, and Smith Lake WMA.
The total tally for the weekend was 166 species, with Baird's Sparrow, Lewis's Woodpecker, and Evening Grosbeak being among the most popular with the group.
On Friday evening, Todd Nordeen, a district wildlife manager for Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, spoke about the bighorn sheep management program in the Nebraska Panhandle. Bighorn sheep were native to the area, but were extirpated in the early 1900s due to disease, habitat loss and over-hunting. Over the past few years, bighorn sheep have been reintroduced, and herds can now be found at Fort Robinson State Park, Bighorn WMA, Cedar Canyon WMA, and Hubbard Gap. The total population of bighorn sheep in Nebraska is currently estimated at 250 to 300.
On Saturday evening, Bart Bly, a biologist with the Nebraska Prairie Partners, gave a presentation on bird research in western Nebraska pine forests. The Nebraska Prairie Partners, a collaboration between the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, assists landowners with habitat development on private lands and designs projects to benefit wildlife, particularly species of conservation concern. Species studied recently in the Nebraska Panhandle include Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Common Poorwill, and Mountain Plover. The Nebraska Prairie Partners hopes to improve the long-term viability of native habitats and increase public awareness of the importance of conserving and maintaining habitats to keep common species common and to reverse the plight of threatened and endangered species.