Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Date of this Version


Document Type



"Eskimo Curlew Sighted," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 1987) 55(4).


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


When Craig Faanes, Grand Island, went to the Mormon Island Crane Meadows 16 April 1987 to watch Sandhill Cranes at night he saw a bird that he first took for a Whimbrel. He was familiar with Whimbrels on both coasts, but the more he studied the bird the more he was convinced that the bird was an Eskimo Curlew. After he had gone to the natural history museum at UNL and studied a stuffed Eskimo Curlew be was convinced that that was what he had seen. After the date of this sighting Eskimo Curlews were reported from "the Sabine and Aransas wildlife refuges in Texas". (Probably the first reference is to Sabine NWR, Hackberry, Louisiana, near the Texas line. Aransas NWR, near Corpus Christi, is the winter home of the major flock of Whooping Cranes. -- Ed.)

The information above was condensed, by permission from the 1 November 1987 issue of the Omaha World-Herald. That article gave the last sighting of Eskimo Curlew in Nebraska as April 1927, near Norfolk, but Johnsgard's A Revised List of the Birds of Nebraska and Adjacenty Plains States, sticks with Haecker, Moser, and Swenk's date of 8 April 1926, near Hastings (NBR 13:13). The review of the Eskimo Curlew, A Vanishing Species?, NBR 54:65 mentions that Swenk's article, from NOU Proceedings 6: 25-44, as reprinted (with additions) by the Smithsonian Institution, is the third most important reference in the book. The birds were very common in Nebraska until the market hunters took their toll. It is to be hoped that the Eskimo Curlew can be brought back, just as the Whooping Crane has been, although the situations are very different.