Nature Centers Busy Preparing for Crane Season
Sunday, 07 February 2010 11:57

The cranes haven't arrived yet, but anticipation is building.  Read this recent article from the Grand Island Daily Independent to learn more about nature centers' preparations and how to book a crane blind tour.

Raptor Recovery Nebraska Adds New Trauma Center
Friday, 05 February 2010 16:31

In its 35th year, Raptor Recovery Nebraska was overdue for a facility upgrade.  Check out this recent article from the Lincoln Journal-Star about Raptor Recovery Nebraska's new trauma center in Elmwood.

Join the 13th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count Feb 12-15, 2010
Friday, 05 February 2010 15:21

2010 great backyard bird count logoBird watchers coast to coast are invited to take part in the 13th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, Friday, February 12, through Monday, February 15, 2010.  Participants in the free event will join tens of thousands of volunteers counting birds in their own backyards, local parks or wildlife refuges.

Each checklist submitted by these "citizen scientists" helps researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,the National Audubon Society , and Bird Studies Canada learn more about how the birds are doing—and how to protect them. Last year, participants turned in more than 93,600 checklists online, creating the continent's largest instantaneous snapshot of bird populations ever recorded.

Leopold Conservation Award Nominations Now Open
Friday, 05 February 2010 15:08

In his influential book, A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage. The development of a land ethic was, he wrote, “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.” A land ethic is alive and well today in the thousands of American farmers, ranchers, and foresters who do well by their land and do well for their land.  Sand County Foundation presents its Leopold Conservation Award to a private landowner who exemplifies the spirit of this emerging land ethic — an individual or a family who translates their deep abiding love for the land into responsible stewardship and management. In Nebraska, Sand County Foundation presents the Leopold Conservation Award in partnership with Nebraska Cattlemen. The Leopold Conservation Award winner receives an Aldo Leopold crystal and a check for $10,000.

Leopold Conservation Awards recognize extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation, inspire other landowners through their example, and help the general public understand the vital role private landowners can and do play in conservation success.  The nominations deadline for 2010 awards is March 22, 2010.  For further information, see the Leopold Conservation Award website.

Nebraska Environmental Trust Announces Preliminary Awards
Friday, 05 February 2010 10:21

The Nebraska Environmental Trust has released its list of 2010 preliminary grant award winners. Visit www.environmentaltrust.org for more information.

Bird Conservation News and Interest - February
Monday, 01 February 2010 00:00

northern pintail pair on holmes lakeBird of the Month:  Northern Pintail

Thousands of Northern Pintails will soon be arriving in the Rainwater Basin region, a critical stopover en route to their breeding grounds farther north.

Northern Pintail is a Nebraska Bird Partnership priority species for conservation during the nonbreeding season.  Visit the Northern Pintail species profile to learn more about Northern Pintail in Nebraska.

Conservation Calendar

Q&A Corner

Question:  Where and when is the best time to view Sand Hill Cranes ? Best viewing sites ?  Dorrance, Nebraska

Answer:  You can see cranes anytime early/mid-March through early April, with migration peaking in late March. You have a variety of options for crane viewing destinations, but most people visiting central Nebraska for crane viewing will stay in Kearney, Grand Island, or Hastings. Nebraskaflyway.com is a great resource for planning your trip. There is also a nice blog post at Nebraska Birding (not affiliated with the Nebraska Bird Partnership) that reviews some of your considerations.

Project BEAK Hits the Airwaves
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 13:38

Project BEAK, the interactive website where kids of all ages can learn about Nebraska birds and their adaptations, was recently featured on Playa Country Radio.  Listen to the broadcast here.

Rivers and Wildlife Celebration Turns 40
Tuesday, 26 January 2010 14:46

The nation's longest running wildlife festival is celebrating the big 4-0 this year.

The Rivers and Wildlife Celebration (RWC) began in 1970 to highlight Platte River crane viewing opportunities and conservation issues. At that time, a wildlife watcher could have a blind on the river to him- or herself to enjoy the spectacle of thousands of cranes coming in to roost. Times have certainly changed; now visitors need to make reservations early for a weekend spot, and plan on sharing.

RWC has changed too. The co-sponsors, the Nebraska Bird Partnership and Audubon Nebraska, are offering more field trips and activities than ever before. Attendees of the March 18-21 Celebration have the opportunity to register for Rainwater Basin and Kearney area birding trips, prairie grouse lek tours,and,of course, crane viewing blind tours. Other planned activities are a photography workshop with award-winning photographer Michael Forsberg, and a free gala reception at the Museum of Nebraska Art for the Galapagos and Great Plains exhibit with Dr. Paul Johnsgard and Alison Johnson. Families will also feel welcome in the Wild Experience Room, with free hands-on activities and presentations geared toward the younger crowd,including live reptiles and raptors.

Like many that turn 40, you won't see too much fanfare associated with the birthday. Exceptions include offering RWC t-shirts that commemorate 40 years of river conservation, and a lunchtime keynote address on Saturday from Ron Klataske, executive director of Audubon Kansas. Ron was around at the beginning of RWC, When he served as a regional director of Audubon. Ron will give his retrospective on river conservation in Nebraska.

For registration information, visit the Rivers and Wildlife Celebration page.

Crane Migration is Big Business
Tuesday, 26 January 2010 12:56

sandhill cranesA recent study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Bureau of Business Research indicates that the spring sandhill crane migration pumped 10.33 million dollars into the central Nebraska economy in 2009.  Half of visitors came from outside of Nebraska, and only 13% were from central Nebraska.

View the full report here.

News and Interest - January
Monday, 04 January 2010 08:38

ferruginous hawkBird of the Month:  Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk is the largest American hawk.  Before elimination of bison, these hawks often used bison bones and wool in construction of their nests.

Ferruginous Hawk is a Bird Partnership priority species for conservation.  To learn more about Ferruginous Hawk, visit the species profile page here.


Conservation Calendar

  • January 15:  Deadline to submit nominations for 2010 Nebraska Bird Partnership awards.
  • January 21:  6th Annual Tallgrass Prairie Management Seminar, Beatrice.  Contact Kent Pfeiffer ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) for more information.
  • February 3:  Rainwater Basin Joint Venture 15th Annual Informational Seminar, Hastings.
  • February 4:  Nebraska Environmental Trust will release the preliminary award list for 2010 grants.
  • February 6:  Pheasants Forever 2010 State Habitat Meeting, Kearney.
  • March 18-21:  Registration is now open for the 40th Annual Rivers and Wildlife Celebration, Kearney, co-hosted by the Nebraska Bird Partnership, Rowe Sanctuary, and Audubon Nebraska.  If you have an item to donate for the silent auction, please contact Chris Thody ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

Q&A Corner

Question:  I had 7 Ringed Turtle Doves at my feeder this morning (Dec 30, 2009).  When did they establish in Nebraska?  Ed, Ceresco

Answer:  The doves in question were first recorded in Nebraska in 1997 and began to establish themselves shortly thereafter.  By the early 2000s they were locally common, particularly in small towns in central and western Nebraska.  They are now found statewide but are least common in metropolitan areas in eastern Nebraska.  These doves are actually called Eurasian Collared-Doves.  There are several similar species found in other parts of the world, some referred to as Turtle-Doves or Ringed Turtle-Doves, but this particularly species is native to the Eurasia.  Joel Jorgensen, Nongame Bird Program Manager, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

If you have bird or habitat questions you've been wondering about, send it to us here.  We aren't the experts, but we know the experts and can get you an answer.

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