Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



The Nebraska Bird 90, Review Vol. 90 No. 3, pp. 90-112


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc.


As always, the summer season produces surprises, and this year was no exception. Surprises fall into different categories, though: genuine statewide rarities, within-state distributional rarities, and, of course in summer, nesting records at new locations, population notes, late and early dates and high numbers, increased knowledge about subspecies in the state, and miscellaneous things of interest. These categories are covered separately below after some housekeeping comments.

“Genuine statewide rarities” were led by the first state record Limpkin found by Karen Kader and seen by many in Sarpy Co. Potential 2nd or so state records were a Mexican Duck in Scotts Bluff Co and a Common Raven in Scotts Bluff Co, both still subject to NOU Records Committee decisions.

“Within state distributional rarities” included the first Scotts Bluff Co record of Eastern Meadowlark, second state summer record of Ruby-crowned Kinglet and third of MacGillivray’s Warbler.

“Nesting records at new locations” were quite interesting. Common Merganser was discovered breeding on the White River, Barn Owl nested in a new location in northeastern Nebraska, Brown Creeper fledged young in Cherry Co, and Western Tanager was found nesting at Wildcat Hills for the first time.

“Population notes” were of interest for several species his summer, both positive and negative. Gray Partridge was unreported and seems to be at a low ebb, hummingbird expert Sheri Williamson had interesting comments about Black-chinned Hummingbirds, the “Lacreek” American White Pelicans returned to Lacreek NWR in South Dakota after a season in the Nebraska Sandhills, Broad-winged Hawks were conspicuous in the Niobrara River Valley west to Cherry Co, encouraging reports of Black-billed Magpie came from new locations, and Louisiana Waterthrush was found at several spring branch canyon sites in Cherry Co, as well as in Holt Co.

“Late and early dates and high numbers” includes encouraging numbers of migrant Rufous Hummingbirds and likely breeding Sage Thrashers in the Panhandle, 50 Gray Catbirds at Wildwood WMA, Lancaster Co, and 59 Swainson’s Thrushes at Oliver Reservoir, Kimball Co, indicative of later spring migration timing there. Very late was an expert-verified Red-tailed (Harlan’s) Hawk, amazingly on 13 Jun in 100-degree heat, and record tardy were Harris’s and White-throated Sparrows.

“Increased knowledge about subspecies” comes mostly from observations by Steve Mlodinow. Reports of the Rocky Mountains Hairy Woodpecker subspecies continue in Scotts Bluff Co, there was confirmation that the western subspecies of Blue-gray Gnatcatcher has reached and established in the central Niobrara River Valley following rapid range expansion in the west, and the Rocky Mountains Spotted Towhee subspecies continues to occur in the Nebraska South Platte River Valley. Perplexing summer Northern Flickers are discussed as well.

And finally, “Miscellaneous things of interest”. Frequency and phenology of Northern Parula songs are mentioned under that species, and the use of the eBird reporting category “Bullock’s/Black-backed Oriole” in the Nebraska hybrid zone is discussed.