Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Nebraska Bird Review, volume 91, number 3, September 2023, pp. 94–112.


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc.


There were no new species for Nebraska. This was also a lean season for records of species with few Nebraska records. Probably most significant were continuing Common Ravens in two Sioux Co locations, and possibly the first summer records of Baird’s Sparrow, a recording of the latter currently under NOURC review.

Within-state breeders nesting at new locations. There were several instances of nesting reported away from known breeding areas. These include documented records of first nesting Black-necked Stilts in Cherry Co, Least Terns off river at Offutt Base Lake in Sarpy Co, Mississippi Kite in Adams Co, Yellow-throated Vireo in Thayer Co, and Plumbeous Vireo in Scotts Bluff Co. Implied nesting was indicated for Broad-tailed Hummingbird at the Wildcat Hills, Red Crossbill in Thomas Co, Savannah Sparrow in the northwest, and Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) Warbler in the Wildcat Hills. Unfortunately, three of the four known Peregrine Falcon nests in Omaha and Lincoln failed.

Within-state breeders with population shifts. Southeastern species with westward shifts included Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Gray Catbird. Southwestern species with notable shifts included Cassin’s Sparrow southward. Northward shifts of species widespread in most of Nebraska were seen with Northern Mockingbird and Eastern Meadowlark. Gray Partridge was reported only from the extreme northwest, and there were no Black-billed Magpie reports from the northeast.

Population notes. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher made a great showing in terms of breeding locations and additional sightings. In low numbers were California Gull, Cattle Egret, and Pine Siskin.

Unexpected distributional records. Common and Red-breasted Mergansers were both reported in the northwest, Cherry Co’s 4th Northern Parula was near Valentine, and Lancaster Co’s 5th Scarlet Tanager for Jun-Jul was seen by many.

Late and early dates and high numbers. Most surprising were single White-throated and Lincoln’s Sparrows; their presence was possibly due to widespread fires in Canada. Record early in fall were Black-bellied Plover and Dusky Flycatcher. Most surprising count was 46 Solitary (!) Sandpipers.

Subspecies. The eastern subspecies of White-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis carolinensis, has generally been considered not to encroach on the range of the Pine Ridge breeding subspecies S. c. nelsoni, but there were a few reports of eastern birds there this Jun-Jul. Notable were multiple reports of the Rocky Mountains subspecies of Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus montanus, in the west; it is possible this species occurs regularly as far east as Nebraska.

Miscellaneous things of interest. The historically severe drought in eastern Nebraska was seen to have affected the unique small stream habitat of Louisiana Waterthrush. An intriguing theory: recently described groups of Indian Peafowl in South Omaha and Grand Island may be descended from racetrack captives in those two locations.