Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



The Nebraska Bird Review Vol. 91 No. 1, pp. 2-18


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc.


Since this is a Winter Seasonal Report, it seems appropriate to lead off with notable reports of occurrences that might be considered unexpected for midwinter, of which there were several. A range of species was involved, suggesting an encompassing cause such as climate change. Of interest were northerly wintering groups of waterfowl including Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Ringnecked Duck, and Hooded Merganser. Reports of wintering Tundra Swans, Whitewinged Doves, and Lesser Goldfinches continue to increase, and numerous Redwinged Blackbirds in the northeast in midwinter were unexpected. Also quite unexpected were two Sandhill Cranes wintering in the east, the state’s first overwintering Eastern Towhee as far north as Dixon Co, and a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak in Jan, oddly in breeding plumage. Perhaps related to the above in terms of cause are late fall reports, of which there were also several. Notably tardy were Surf and White-winged Scoters, Piedbilled Grebe, Horned and Eared Grebes, Barn Owl, Loggerhead Shrike, American Pipit, Field, White-throated, Savannah, and Song Sparrows, Spotted Towhee, and Orange-crowned Warbler. Probably also related are noteworthy numbers of several species, although these high numbers appear to be due to a variety of reasons rather than to climate change. The 221 Trumpeter Swans reflect a major increase in the Minnesota reintroduced population, 70,000 Mallards, 2000 Common Goldeneyes, and 90 Greater Prairie-Chickens are encouraging numbers of expected species, and 30 Lesser Blackbacked Gulls are part of an increasing trend in numbers of this species. Surprising numbers and extended range for winter occurrence were noted for Red-headed Woodpecker, and surprising in magnitude were influxes of 18 Prairie Falcons and 360 Rusty Blackbirds in the east, and 151 Northern Shrikes and 2600 Snow Buntings statewide. Conversely, lower numbers were apparent for Common Merganser and Darkeyed (White-winged) Junco, continuing last winter’s trends, and, more surprisingly, Yellow-rumped Warbler reports were few this winter. Gray Partridge continues in low numbers, and indeed none were reported this winter. Perhaps not unexpectedly, due to their erratic winter incursions, Snowy Owl and Common Redpoll were essentially absent; only one of each was reported.