Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Johnsgard, "Additional Observations on the Birds of the Lake McConaughy Region," from Nebraska Bird Review (June 1990) 58(2).


Copyright 1990, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


Since the publication more than five years ago (NBR, 52:26-35, 1984) of an earlier list of the birds of the North Platte Valley between Oshkosh and Keystone, many new records have been obtained. Additionally, since 1982 Dr. Charles Brown of Yale University has spent every summer doing ornithological fieldwork in the area, and has kindly contributed many of his observations. This abundance of new information appears to warrant some additions and modifications to the original list, most of which simply involve changes in occurrence or status information for previously recorded species. However, three previously unreported species have also been observed (those species listed here by scientific as well as vernacular names), resulting in a total list of 247 species reported for the area in less than 20 years, making this area one of the richest documented areas for bird life in the entire state. By comparison, the 1984 bird checklist for Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge consists of 273 species observed over nearly 50 years, and the 1974 bird checklist for Valentine National Wildlife Refuge consists of 231 species observed over about 40 years.

Additions and changes in status are as follows: Common Loon. Summering birds in non-breeding to varying degrees of breeding plumage have been observed in June during most years and to as late as 10 July, as well as occurring sporadically during August, on Keystone and McConaughy Lakes. Thus the species now appears to be a regular non-breeding summer visitor.