Nebraska Birding Trails

Hawkwatch

Bluebirds
Across Nebraska

 

 

Home Birding Basics Into the Field
Into the field
Courtesy of Fontenelle Nature Association    

When to Bird
You don’t have to wait for “birding season” --  birding is a year-round activity.

Some birds are in Nebraska only during certain months, while others live here all year.

The widest variety of birds will visit our state during the spring and fall migration.  Records indicate that the middle of May is when you’ll find the widest variety of birds in Nebraska.

You can bird at any time, day or night.  Some birds are only active at night, but most birds are active and more easily observed early in the morning. 

Where to Bird
Many bird species have a low tolerance for human disturbance, so rural areas with good habitat usually have more bird species than urban areas.  As you consider where to bird, don’t overlook your local parks, golf courses, cemeteries, and sewage lagoons – not to mention your own backyard.  All of these areas can offer you a wide variety of birds to observe.  The wider the variety of habitats you visit, the longer and richer your species list will be.

Habitat hints:

  • Warbling Vireos usually hang around cottonwood trees.
  • White-breasted Nuthatches are usually found in deciduous trees.
  • Red-breasted Nuthatches are generally found in conifers.
Into the field
Courtesy of Fontenelle Nature Association    

The best and quickest way to learn your birds is to go birding with a more experienced birder.  If you don’t know any veteran birders, check with your local Audubon Chapter or other birding organization near you.  These types of active organizations will have meetings and field trips you can attend.  Also, you can contact the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union at their website:

http://rip.physics.unk.edu/nou/

The annual Christmas Bird Count is a major birding event sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Audubon Society.  Each year, between December 20 and the first week in January, birders conduct bird counts across North America.   Search these sites to see if there is a count near you:

http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/getinvolved.html

http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/cbc.html

No trespassingBirding Ethics
As birding becomes more and more popular, birders need to observe certain rules of conduct at all times. You need to act in ways that protect birds and their environment.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are state and federal laws that prohibit anyone without a permit from altering the behavior of most wild bird species.

Here are a few commonsense ethical guidelines for birding that you and everyone you bird with should follow:

    1. Do not trespass. Enter private land only with permission.
    2. Respect the privacy of others. Take special care not to bother
      or offend people engaged in their own activities.  Give hikers,
      bikers, and joggers the right of way and remember that golfers
      have the right of way on golf courses.
    3. Respect the natural environment.  If possible, leave it in better
      shape than you found it.  Pick up and properly dispose of any
      garbage you find.  Stay on marked trails in natural areas and
      leave nothing but footprints.
    4. Avoid disturbing birds. The best way to avoid stressing birds is
      to observe them from a distance. Birders can cause unnecessary
      stress if they approach a bird or its nest too closely or alter bird
      behavior by doing things like playing tapes of bird songs during
      nesting season.   Some species may abandon a nest of eggs or
      chicks if they’re unduly disturbed.  If your actions cause a bird to
      change its behavior, then you have come too close.
    5. Avoid locations that are species-sensitive.  Feeding,
      nesting, and roosting locations are critical for birds.  Avoid any
      disturbance in these locations.

 

 


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