Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



The Nebraska Bird Review Vol. 85 No. 1 (2017), pp 2-22 & 31


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc. Founded 1899


This was an interesting winter from several standpoints. The trend of unexpected winter occurrences and earlier arrivals in “spring” continued. Mid-winter records of several species were notable: Rock Wren, Marsh Wren, American Pipit, Pine Warbler, and Chipping Sparrow. Rarities (see below) that could be considered in this category as well were Golden-crowned Sparrow and Lesser Goldfinch. For earlier arrivals, there was a noticeable influx 14-18 Feb of various species that provided rather early dates for those species. In this group were Blue-winged Teal, Ruddy Duck, Double-crested Cormorant, American White Pelican, and Turkey Vulture.

Some amazing numbers were reported, including a careful estimate of 1,074,080 Snow Geese flying over Nuckolls Co with 2% embedded Ross’s Geese, or some 21,482. If you still need to see a Eurasian Collared-Dove, 1450 were reported on the Scottsbluff CBC. At the other end of the numbers spectrum were three finches, Red Crossbill, Common Redpoll, and Pine Siskin. No redpolls were reported, only one (!) Red Crossbill, and perhaps 60 siskins including CBC counts.

Important distributional records were photographically-confirmed occurrences of Red-bellied Woodpecker and Northern Cardinal in Sheridan Co at the extreme northwestern edge of their ranges, and the westernmost Barred Owl location known to date in the Republican River Valley in Harlan Co.

A couple of miscellaneous items of interest to some are the occurrences of Egyptian Goose and possible African Collared-Dove, and of course the wayward Greater Prairie-Chicken that spent a night in the Lincoln Haymarket district.

This winter had plenty to offer in the rarity department, other than the aforementioned wintering Golden-crowned Sparrow and easterly Lesser Goldfinch. The state’s first Anna’s Hummingbird persisted until 9 Dec, its 4th Brambling obliged many at the Padelford residence (raising the question of how many were at feeders of non-birders?), and its 5th Canyon Wren was a prize for those who made the off-road trek to a remote Sandhills ranch. A genuine rarity was the occurrence of a gray Hermit Thrush in Frontier Co that raises interesting questions about the subspecies that pass through western parts of Nebraska.