Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



The Nebraska Bird Review, Vol. 87 No. 1 (2019), pp 15-16 & 25-38


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc.


Eighteen counts were held during the 2018-19 Christmas Bird Count season. This is two more than were done last season, which was the first time that as many as sixteen counts were held. This year no counts were postponed or cancelled, and the Beaver Valley Count was revived after a four year hiatus. Twelve of the counts were done during the first week of the count period. While the conditions for these early counts were mild and dry, heavy precipitation in late fall coupled with an early onset of cold weather in the first part of December resulted in little to no snow cover or open standing water, but almost all the springs and running water were open. A notable exception to this was the Harlan County count since the lake is far enough south to have remained at least partially open. By December 22 when the DeSoto count was held, there was much more open standing water. The counts done in the latter part of the count period also experienced dry conditions but with more seasonable temperatures. In all, 143 species were tallied, which is the fourth highest number, behind 149 counted in 2010, 147 in 2015 and 144 in 2018. The 436,316 individual birds is the second highest number behind only the all-time high of 652,936 individuals from 1977 when an estimated 500,000 Red-winged Blackbirds were counted in the North Platte circle. Twelve species had the second highest counts ever, while 10 tied or set new highs. Some of these can be attributed to the increase in the number of counts being done in the past few years, but even so, ten species were still found in all circles. Thirty-one species were counted in only one circle with twenty of those being single birds.