Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version


Document Type



Lingle & Bedell, "Nesting Ecology of Sedge Wrens in Hall County, Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (June 1989) 57(2).


Copyright 1989, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


The status of the Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) in Nebraska is not well known. Cink (1973) summarized summer records from 1867 to 1971 and described only a few nest records. One nest discovered on 28 August 1902 at Capitol Beach, Lancaster Co., was assumed empty, apparently because of the late date. Bedell (1987) recorded July and August sightings in south central Nebraska and raised the question of whether these birds were migrants or nesting.

Sedge Wrens are frequently polygynous (Crawford 1977, Burns 1982) and may exhibit two waves of nesting effort in some areas (Burns 1982). Nest initiation appears to fall into two periods depending on the latitude; one from early May to June in Michigan (Walkinshaw 1935), Minnesota (Burns 1982), North Dakota (stewart 1975), and Wisconsin (Manci and Rusch 1988), and the other beginning in late July through August in Kansas (Cink pers. comm., Williams 1981) and Arkansas (Meanley 1952) in addition to more northern latitudes as cited above. This may explain why Sedge Wrens are often not encountered during typical May and June breeding bird censuses, especially in southern and western portions of their nesting range (Robbins et al. 1986).

This paper compares nesting densities on a grazed versus an ungrazed area and describes the nesting phenology of Sedge Wrens during the 1988 nesting season in Hall Co.