Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



The Nebraska Bird Review, Vol. 86 No. 1 (2018), pp 31-46


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc.


Sixteen counts were held during the 2017-18 Christmas Bird Count season, which is one more than has ever been done in the past. Although the Crawford count was not done this season, the new Lower Platte River count, centered at the junction of Platteview Road and 204th St. south of Gretna, was added. A total 236 observers took part in at least one count, 26 did two counts, four did three counts, five did four counts and four persons did six counts. However, special recognition goes to Gary Roberts, who did eight counts this season. I am not aware of anyone having done this many counts in Nebraska in one season before. Ten of the counts were held during the first week of the count period and enjoyed mild and dry conditions with almost all water open. On December 21 the weather turned, resulting in the postponement of the Ames count, followed by a week of cold and snowier conditions. The remaining six counts experienced much colder conditions with generally very limited open water. The 140 species totaled for all circles is the third highest number, behind only the 149 counted in 2010 and 147 in 2015. The 335,466 individuals are the second highest number ever counted. The alltime high of 652,936 was set in 1977 when 502,286 Red-winged Blackbirds were found, with an estimated 500,000 of those from the North Platte circle. Nineteen species set or tied previous high counts, including the first-ever single LeConte’s Sparrow found at DeSoto in the Nebraska part of the circle. There were 10 species counted in every circle, and 26 species were found in only one circle, with 13 of those being single birds.