2021 Wildlife Newsletter

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/1327210

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 7

Continued from page 1 research and banding efforts for this species occurs in the eastern U.S., upper Midwest, and Canada. The status of the northern saw-whet owl anywhere in Nebraska and at any time of the year has been unclear, primarily because of their cryptic nature and sparse human population in the regions of the state where this species is most likely to breed. Therefore, they are listed as a Tier II, critically imperiled species in the state of Nebraska. There are a few confirmed records of saw-whets nesting in larger tracts of ponderosa pine in the panhandle of Nebraska, as well as probable reports of breeding in north-central Nebraska. Additionally, recent banding efforts during early autumn have documented limited numbers of saw-whets migrating through western Nebraska near Scottsbluff. The remaining data on this species include a handful of wintering records in the east, but overall information and sightings are scant. Beginning in the fall of 2019, biologists with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Nongame Bird Program began targeted banding operations during fall evenings around Lincoln to determine whether saw-whets migrate in the eastern part of the state. After catching and banding two individuals in 2019, biologists increased their efforts during the fall of 2020. Reports from other owl banding stations in the upper Midwest were promising to start the season, and 2020 did not disappoint when it came to banding around Lincoln. Staff banded 20 owls between October 15 – November 19, establishing both a new high count for migratory saw-whet movements in the state, as well as confirming the limited window of peak movements for our region. Apart from high numbers, these banding efforts, supported by the Wildlife Conservation Fund, greatly expand our knowledge of this species in the state. The birds banded in 2020 may be captured in subsequent years by other owl banding stations throughout the Midwest or again in eastern Nebraska, which would further expand our understanding of precisely how this small but important predator fits into the ecosystem during the fall and winter months. All banding was conducted legally and ethically under federal bird banding permit #20259. Evidence of breeding pairs of Northern Saw-whet Owls in Nebraska is rare. This young owl emerged from a successful nest box in Gering in 2014. 2 Saw-whets... "There are a few confirmed records of saw- whets nesting in larger tracts of ponderosa pine in the panhandle of Nebraska." PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAAG

Articles in this issue

view archives of OutdoorNebraska - 2021 Wildlife Newsletter