Date of this Version
The Nebraska Bird Review, Volume 89 Number 4, December 2021, pp. 175-180.
Prior to 2019, records of NSWOs in Nebraska during fall were limited. There were fewer than five accepted reports in eastern Nebraska since the 1950s (Silcock and Jorgensen, 2021). The Hitchcock banding station along the Missouri River bluffs in nearby western Iowa has captured, banded, and released 20-50 birds during autumn migration for a number of years (J. Toll, personal communication). Furthermore, a single season banding study in central Nebraska during fall 2004 captured 14 NSWOs (Kim 2005), suggesting the species may migrate annually over much of the state in fall, or at least in more years than previously thought. This is despite the relative lack of continuous forested habitat in the eastern and central part of the state and extensive areas of agricultural land cover. However, the absence of any systematic effort to detect this species over multiple years, especially away from the Missouri River, renders such conclusions speculative. To address information gaps, we conducted targeted NSWO banding efforts in the vicinity of Lincoln, Nebraska, for three consecutive years in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Our objectives were to determine 1) whether NSWOs migrate through this area regularly in fall, 2) the phenology of migration through our area, and 3) whether NSWO age classes vary by year. Our results should clarify and define the status of NSWOs’ fall movements in eastern Nebraska.