Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Nebraska Bird Review (December 1994) 62(4).


Copyright 1994, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


The fall season is a long one in terms of bird movements. The SUMMER FIELD REPORT detailed the post-breeding wanderings of herons and the beginning of shorebird migration. This report covers the end of these and the southward movements of insectivorous passerines, mainly in August and September, while seedeaters such as sparrows follow, mainly in September and October. Waterfowl generally bring up the rear, moving south just ahead of the freeze-up.

The fall season is probably the most exciting time for rare bird enthusiasts, as young birds of many species wander, often aimlessly, at this time of year before they face reality and head south. A few exceptions linger into the winter season to be picked up on Christmas Bird Counts and at feeders.

Highlights of this report include a few notably early or late dates of occurrence; no particular pattern emerges with these, however, although the fall was generally mild, allowing a few species to extend their stays in Nebraska. Several species were reported which had very few fall records previously; most unexpected was probably the 1st fall panhandle record of Scarlet Tanager. Rarities include the 2nd state record for Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, found by Larry Malone in Sheridan County, and the 4th state record for calliope Hummingbird, caught by a dog on the Jim Hatch ranch in southern Sioux County and reported by Alice Kenitz, who recovered the specimen. Also rare were a family group of Tundra Swans in southern Holt County, a Mississippi Kite in Thomas County, a Gyrfalcon in Dawes County, and a "Black-crested" Tufted Titmouse in Otoe County, the latter the 1st state record of this former species.