Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



The Nebraska Bird Review Vol. 86 No. 4 (2018), pp 181-185


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc.


In order to better understand wild birds and their migration, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies conducted bird monitoring for the 11th straight year at our fall migration banding station in Chadron State Park within the Pine Ridge Region of Nebraska. Operated in collaboration with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, this station is open to the public and visited by school groups to serve as an outdoor classroom. Among our goals are to enhance the public’s appreciation of birds as well as their understanding of threats to bird survival and the role of science in bird conservation. Serving as an important migration stopover, the Pine Ridge ecosystem is atypical for western Nebraska, featuring high escarpments with numerous canyons and gullies. Open ponderosa pine forests dominate the landscape with thick understory pockets of hardwoods such as elm and fruit-bearing shrubs including chokeberry and plum. These forested ‘islands’ stand alone in the vast mixed grass prairies and agricultural lands that dominate the region and provide important resources for resident and migrant forest birds, many traveling from as far away as Central and even South America. To date, 80 different species have been captured in Chadron State Park. This season, a total of 347 birds of 39 different species were banded at the station (Table 1). An additional 49 captures represent birds that were captured multiple times within the season, as well as 9 birds that were banded in a previous season (Table 2) and recaptured this year. This brings the total number of birds banded during the 11- year period to 3936. A few of the more notable captures this season include a Nashville Warbler and a Palm Warbler (Figure 1), which were both first-ever captures for the station. Also of interest were unusually high numbers of Western Wood- Pewees and Eastern Bluebirds, in both cases the season’s total nearly equaling the total for all previous seasons combined.