Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


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Bedell, "Early Fall Migratio of Sedge Wrens," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 1987) 55(4).


Copyright 1987, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


Johnsgard (1980) lists the Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis) as an uncommon spring and fall migrant in eastern Nebraska, and a rare summer resident in eastern Nebraska, mostly east of a line from Knox to Gage counties. Half of the initial spring records occur between 1 and 12 May, with the latest 3 June. Half of the final fal1 records occur between 11 Sept. and 9 Oct., with the earliest 29 July. This paper presents observations of Sedge Wrens during 1987 in southcentral Nebraska, west of the line.

I found Sedge Wrens to be local1y common in grassy or marshy areas from late July through at least mid-August, 1987. I recorded Sedge Wrens in Clay, Hall, and Hamilton counties (Table 1). All Wrens counted were singing. Many were unseen because of their reclusive habits, but I saw about half of them either singing from an exposed position near the top of the vegetation or by “swishing” them.

The birds at the Taylor Ranch, in northwestern Hall Co., were in a complex of dry short-grass prairie mixed with low spots that had tall (4 to 5 ft.) marsh vegetation. These low spots had dried up earlier in the summer. The Wrens were using the tall vegetation. After finding the 4 birds on 28 July I returned the next day to look for evidence of nesting. I looked for a couple of hours and saw no evidence of anything other than the presence of singing birds, but a more thorough search did reveal at least 12 Sedge Wrens. No Marsh Wrens were using this area.