Thursday, December 27, 2007

Omaha World Herald Article

I checked in on the Nebraska hotline this evening. For some reason, I had never added a link to them in the sidebar. I have now corrected that. Anyway, there were some posts over there about an article that ran in the Omaha World Herald on Christmas eve. A couple of the regulars on the hotline were quoted.

From the article

Shortages of some seeds, nuts and berries in Canadian forests and along stretches of the Rocky Mountains are pushing northern and mountain birds farther afield, ornithologists say.

As a result, species of birds not typically seen in Nebraska and Iowa are showing up more often at feeders - and more varieties could be on the way.

The tiny red breasted nuthatch and the purple finch already are being seen in greater numbers than is normal, said Walker and Joel Jorgensen, a bird biologist, both with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

In the Nebraska Panhandle, the mountain chickadee is showing up more often, said Ross Silcock, an amateur ornithologist who compiles seasonal reports for Nebraska and regional birding publications.

Such shifts in a bird's territory are called irruptions, and the birding community is heating up with talk about the possibility of a notable irruption across a wide swath of the U.S. this winter.

Christopher Wood of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology said a food shortage in the Rockies has contributed to what may be the largest recorded irruption of mountain chickadees into the Plains.

Matthew Medler, science coordinator for the Boreal Songbird Initiative, said northern U.S. states, from Minnesota to Maine, already are seeing signs of what could be a major irruption.

How much variety birding enthusiasts in Nebraska and Iowa will enjoy this winter depends upon the weather and food supplies here and elsewhere, Jorgensen said. "I wouldn't call it a major irruption yet, but it's been pretty decent. These birds are very nomadic."

Guess the prediction I cited in this post is holding true.

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