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A SERVICE OF THE OUTDOOR WIRE DIGITAL NETWORK
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2015
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CITIZEN SCIENCE
Spring Brings a New Season of NestWatch
Springtime is nesting time, and that means another season of beautiful birdsong, colorful eggs, and downy nestlings -- and another season of NestWatch, a free citizen-science project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

CONSERVATION
'Hen Houses' Will Add More Ducks to Fall Flight
Mallards returning to the Prairie Pothole Region this spring will find 618 new Hen House nesting structures installed by Delta Waterfowl.

EVENTS
See American Woodcock Spring Ritual in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Chapter of The Nature Conservancy is offering a public walk at its Hauser Nature Center in Long Pond, Pa. to celebrate spring and view the spectacular and elaborate mating courtship ritual of the male American Woodcock.
Red Slough Birding Convention in SE Oklahoma
The 7th annual Red Slough Birding Convention hosted by the Idabel, Okla. Chamber of Commerce May 9-12.
Duck Stamp
Registration Underway for Oklahoma's Red Slough Birding Convention
Opportunities during the 7th annual Red Slough Birding Convention hosted by the Idabel Chamber of Commerce will include chances to see bitterns, rails and other secretive marsh birds, rare woodpeckers and warblers.

JOBS
Program Coordinator: Detroit Audubon Society
Detroit Audubon is currently seeking a qualified individual to serve as Program Coordinator, a half-time position with the intention of it becoming full time.

NESTCAMS
For Pennsylvania Eagle Cam Viewers, Egg Watch Has Begun
The Pennsylvania Game Commission's bald eagle cam already has attracted nearly 643,000 viewers, many of whom faithfully have followed the daily happenings at the nest near Codorus State Park in Hanover, Pa.
NestCam Streaming Atlanta Peregrine Falcons
A Georgia Department of Natural Resources camera at www.georgiawildlife.com/FalconCam is streaming live video of a pair of peregrine falcons nesting atop SunTrust Plaza Tower.

NWR SYSTEM
CARE Releases "America's National Wildlife Refuges: Good for Wildlife and for Business"
The Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement (CARE) this week released the report, America's National Wildlife Refuges: Good for Wildlife and for Business highlighting the "Big Six" wildlife dependent uses on wildlife refuges.

PHOTOGRAPHY
San Diego Audubon Sponsoring Photo Contest
San Diego Audubon is sponsoring a first for our chapter — a major photo competition, open to all, "focusing" exclusively on five endangered birds native to our region and benefitting from SDAS programs.

RESCUE
Reward Offered in SoCal Brown Pelican Shooting
International Bird Rescue, along with help from an anonymous donor, is now offering a $5,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for shooting an adult male Brown Pelican in Southern California.

SHOREBIRDS
Give Florida's Nesting Shorebirds Plenty of Space
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) asks beachgoers to watch out for and avoid disturbing beach-nesting shorebirds on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the state.

SPECIES
The Long-whiskered Owlet, First Discovered in 1976
First discovered in 1976, the tiny Long-whiskered Owlet remained elusive until several were spotted in 2007 at Peru's Abra Patricia Reserve, where American Bird Conservancy and partner Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos (ECOAN) now protect over 25,000 acres of habitat.
Lesser Prairie-Chicken Surveys Underway in NW Oklahoma
Aerial and ground surveys of lesser prairie-chickens conducted by Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sutton Avian Research Center and Oklahoma City Zoo began in NW Oklahoma Sunday, March 15, and will run through May 7.
Flamingos Return to Palm Beach County, Fla.
Last year a group of over 100 Flamingos showed up in Palm Beach County, Fla. This year, some have returned to the same spot.

STATES
Michigan's Five Birding Trails Offer Diversity, Adventure
Michigan's birding trail stops are typically in county parks, nature preserves or Department of Natural Resources' state parks or wildlife areas – allowing access to all who are interested.
Purple Martin Workshop and Seminar in Kalona, Iowa
A workshop/seminar on attracting purple Martins will be held March 28, at 9 a.m. at the CAM Iowa Clothing Center 1005 Nutmeg Ave., north east of Kalona.
Whooping Cranes Moving Through N. Dakota
As snow geese continue to make their way through the state, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds hunters to properly identify their target as whooping cranes could potentially be in the same areas.
Follow Journey of Golden Eagle Captured in Kentucky's Bernheim Forest
Researchers recently captured a golden eagle in the Bernheim Forest in Bullitt and Nelson counties and fitted it with a tracking device as part of an ongoing research project. Golden eagles are seldom seen in Kentucky.

The Birding Wire Photo Gallery


"One of our favorite backyard birds is the eastern phoebe, whose curiosity and fearlessness has allowed for many close encounters," writes Georgia resident and regular Birding Wire photo contributor, Ken Dunwoody. "This one would perch just a few yards away from us when we raked the yard, probably hoping we'd uncover something edible." Info: Nikon D7000 camera, Nikkor 70-300 4.5/5.6 lens, ISO 1000, aperture f/5, shutter 1/640.

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If you have a unique or favorite photo of a bird, birding event, scenic or wildlife, submit it for consideration in an upcoming Birding Wire. Be sure to include a description of the scene, location and other details, as well technical information. Send it to birdingwire@gmail.com.

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Nebraska Outlook: Cranes Late, But Not Too Late
Editor's note: Migrations are already underway in many parts of the country, with the residents of each region or state often having one or more particular favorite. In Nebraska, however, the bird with the solid #1 ranking is the sandhill crane, whose arrival to the Platte River Valley is heralded by birding and non-birding residents, visitors and the local business community like no other species. - JRA

Any longtime resident of Nebraska knows there is no such thing as a "normal" spring. This spring provides more evidence. The bitter cold snap of late February extended into the first days of March and the afternoon temperature on March 16 was bumping 90 degrees.

Longtime resident birders and birdwatchers know that weather in late winter and early spring will affect the progression of the first waves of migrant birds. The bitter late-winter cold snap, which extended well south of Nebraska, is likely one of the factors that has slowed this year's sandhill crane migration.

Sandhill cranes typically arrive in Nebraska's central Platte River Valley by mid-February. In mild years, a few sandhill cranes will arrive earlier, even as early as late January. In cold years, they may hold off for a week or so. Even when arrival is variable, sandhill crane numbers typically peak in Nebraska about the third week of March.

This year there were relatively few cranes in the central Platte River valley by early March. Even though numbers have increased substantially with the recent warm weather, it appears the peak will occur a bit later than normal this year. This is possibly a testament to how cold that February snap was, or additional variables may be affecting the cranes' migration.

A quick call to Kent Skaggs with Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary and a quick check of the Crane Trust's website confirms the peak in numbers may be a little later than usual this year. Both information sources note there are still lots (thousands!) of cranes around. Thus, if you are planning a trip, there is no reason to panic and scuttle your itinerary. There are still lots of cranes to see, in addition to waterfowl, a few shorebirds and possibly the first Eastern phoebes of the year.

An upside to this year's deviation in the timing of peak sandhill crane numbers may be that large numbers may be around a little bit longer this year. This means there may be additional opportunities to view cranes well into April. Rowe Sanctuary and the Crane Trust have informed me that they have some open slots for blind trips in early April.

So if you toyed with the idea of going to see the cranes this year, but you put it off because the winter seemed like it was never going to end, you may now have a second chance to reconsider this decision by giving Rowe or the Crane Trust a call and making your reservation. The sensible move, particularly if you have never experienced the cranes, is to just do it. You will not regret it.

Crane viewing tips

* Take care while driving. Do not stop on major or private roads. Do not stop abruptly. Pull as far off the road as possible on county roads.

* Do not trespass.

* Do not try to approach the cranes. Use your vehicle as a viewing blind.

* If possible, enhance the experience by using binoculars and spotting scopes.

* It is illegal to harass cranes.

Joel Jorgensen is the nongame bird program manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Contact him at 402-471-5440 or joel.jorgensen@nebraska.gov. Read his Nongame Bird Blog at www.OutdoorNebraska.org.

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Mar. 27 - Mar. 28
Colorado Owl Festival
Pueblo, Colo.
Apr. 4 - May 31
Alaska Hummingbird Festival
Ketchikan, Alaska
Apr. 9 - Apr. 12
Galveston Feather Fest
Galveston Island, Tex.
Apr. 10 - Apr. 12
Olympic BirdFest
Sequim, Wash.
Apr. 15 - Apr. 22
Apr. 15 - May 15
Great Texas Birding Classic
Statewide
Apr. 23 - Apr. 26
Apr. 24 - Apr. 26
Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival
Lady Bird Johnson Park, Fredricksburg, Tex.vvvvvvvvv
Apr. 24 - Apr. 26
Point Reyes Birding and Nature Festival
Point Reyes Station, Calif.
Apr. 24 - Apr. 26
Apr. 24 - Apr. 27
Balcones Songbird Festival
Marble Falls, Tex.
Apr. 27 - May 2
May 1 - May 3
Indiana Audubon 2015 Spring Festival
Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary, Connersville, Ind.
May 9 - May 10
Cheyenne Cañon Hummingbird Experience
Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center, El Paso County, Colo.
May 9 - May 12
May 17
Pioneer Florida Museum Hummingbird Festival
Dade City, Fla.
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