26 September 2007

Historic Birdlife of the Greater Nebraska Sandhills

[South of Wild Horse Hill; Ducey photo] © 2007 James Ed. Ducey. No portion of this article may be replicated without explicit permission of its author. All rights reserved.

An intriguing adventure for an enthusiast interested in birdian history is determining the historic distribution of various species in a particular landscape. This endeavor is especially challenging for a sparsely settled region during a period of time prior to any devoted interest in ornithological record keeping.

Such is the case with the greater Nebraska sand hills, which extend a few miles into the southern Dakota territory, which is now South Dakota. This region of grass stabilized dunes - the largest in the northern hemisphere - has scattered lakes and vibrant streams and rivers that were habitat for a plethora of species. The simple variety of habitats has always been a haven for many types of birds.

Few explorers traversed the dunes, located away from primary transportation corridors such as the Missouri River and Platte River. Few of these travelers noted the bird life. As settlement arrived, with the first homestead era for the primary interior region of the sand hills dating about 1880, there are a few sources that provide scattered glimpses of what was once present.

With settlement of homesteaders on their measly quarter section, along came others to the grassland dunes. Fowl were an attractant to sportsmen excited to shoot at abundant game birds. In the later part of the period prior to 1900, an occasional naturalist visited and was able to denote what was present and denote their findings in the publications of the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union which was among the first bird groups organized in the nation.

[Warren expedition sketch of sandhills]

Buttes de Sable. Sketch from the mid-1850s Warren Expedition.

Narrative Sources

The first source of pertinent records are a few notes in the records from the Warren journeys of the mid-1850s, ordered by the government to explore potential routes for trade westward from the Missouri River. Gouvernour Kemble Warren was the expedition leader. Ferdinand V. Hayden was the naturalist that made observations.

"Birds of the Untamed West" mentions the explorations: In the expedition report, Warren described the western prairies of Nebraska as an "irreclaimable desert, with only a little wood and cultivable land" (Warren 1875, 28). A section about the lakes in the Sand Hills mentions "water . . . impregnated with salts and unfit to drink" (Warren 1875, 26). Other lakes elsewhere did have water suitable for life, however (Warren 1875, 26). The Loup Fork, in the eastern hills, is described as being similar to the lower reaches of the Elkhorn River. The source of the Loup Fork was said to be similar to the western Niobrara River. The Snake River, in the northern Sand Hills, flows through a rugged and narrow pine-covered valley. The Dismal River was called the "Sand Hill Fork."

Hayden also wrote in his subsequent reports about the region: "composed of loose sand which has been thrown up into hills and ridges fifty to two hundred feet in height. . . . Though totally unfit for agricultural purposes, this tract of country cannot be said to be destitute of vegetation. In the valleys and depressions among the hills are many fine spots of grass, and sometimes the hills are covered with varieties of grass adapted to so meager a soil. . . . On the head of the Loup Fork, and between that stream and the Niobrara at various localities, are numerous saline and fresh-water lakes. The fresh-water lakes contain a great profusion of various species of water-plants and their peculiar animal life. . . . (Hayden 1863b, 367)."

The so few records at least mention wetland species such as nesting Sandhill Cranes and wetland species such as the American Bittern, Eared Grebe, and Marsh Wren. The Lark Sparrow is also noted.

From an 1960s report, there were interesting notations. Species were sighted along the Snake River, which in its lower reaches has wooded habitat more typical of the Niobrara valley. This is reflected in mentions of the Lewis' Woodpecker, Mountain Bluebird and Western Tanager. These three species occur in the pine habitat along the lower Snake and Niobrara. The Eared Grebe and American Pipit also were observed in the region along the Snake River.

In the mid-1870s, many records are available from several of the historic chronicles.

For his first report from the dune land, George Bird Grinnell - using pseudonyms Yo and Ornis - narratives mention several species for the lower Middle Loup River in 1873. Recorded were the Sharp-tailed Grouse, Upland Sandpiper, and two notable game birds: the Wild Turkey and Northern Bobwhite.

The same year, Siouxian Indians from the Yankton reservation on the Missouri River, traveled to hunt in the northeast hills. Notes mention the Sandhill Crane and Greater Prairie-Chicken. These species were noted for an area which - in the modern era - have lakes called Otter, Snipe and Wolf that recall what was present in those historic times.

In 1875, the predominant source of information on birds provided the first reports of those fowl of interest to shootists. The species: Sharp-tailed Grouse and Greater Prairie Chicken. Also prevalent were ducks and goose in the vicinity of New Helena and the lower Middle Loup River.

Cattle men entered the region during these times. The grass was luxuriant and ready for cropping by hordes of longhorn cattle. There were no resident people and entrepreneurial men moved northward from the Platte valley to take advantage of the abundant and nutritious resource.

Cattleman James Cook, in his memoirs, was impressed enough by the Trumpeter Swan and American White Pelican to mention them after they were seen on a cattle drive.

Land survey map of Clear, Dewey and Willow lakes in 1876. This area is currently at Valentine NWR.

This early era was when official government survey men were measuring and using various markers to indicate the township, range and section lines to indicate the new government domain, which had been Indian territory. One of the lakes measured in pre-Cherry County was called Pelican Lake, at what is now Valentine NWR. The government maps show the first historic depictions of the lakes, marshes and swamps that were havens to the wild fowl.

George Grinnell returned to the southern sandhills in 1877, an area readily reached via wagon travel from the railroad station at North Platte. At the famous Cody/North ranch near the headwaters of the aptly named Dismal River he wrote: "On . . . [the river's] surface can be seen at any hour of the day thousands of ducks and geese, and tens of thousands of waders. The most abundant ducks which we see are the smaller broadbills and the blue-winged teal, though mallards, black ducks and gadwalls are numerous. Flocks of geese alight on the lake every day, and to my surprise I learned that two pairs of swans (Cygnus Americanus) bred on its shores during the past summer (Grinnell 1877, 152).

Cattleman Luther North also described the presence of the swans, and raising of Trumpeter Swan cygnets. Buffalo Bill Cody was the partner in the ranch, which spread for mile after mile after mile north to south and east to west along the riverine hills.

The place was certainly an attraction to Grinnell. He returned the following year. Bird specimens he collected from this region in September 1878 included specimens of the Rusty Blackbird, Common Grackle and McCown's Longspur that were collected in the Dismal River area. These carcasses are included in the collection of the Birdcraft Museum operated by the Connecticut Audubon Society in Fairfield, Connecticut.

After a few years, a professor visited the eastern hills. Lawrence Bruner snagged a few acres and the lake at the place is known as Bruner Lake. At nearby Swan Lake - named for an obvious feature - is one of the first tree plantings for the region. An effort which certainly changed the variety of bird species present at the locale.

Hearty settlers had a variety of interests and by the mid-1880s, there were newspaper to report the details. For 1885, there was a newspaper item in the O'Neill Frontier - borrowed from the Stuart Ledger - written by Ham Kautzman that mentions what was the new hamlet in Holt county. It reads:

"Like a Silver Ribbon - A Poetical Pen Picture of the Classic Elkhorn River

"Over the fertile prairies, among the hills and the glens, along grassy and wild-flowered banks, the Elkhorn wends its way like a sliver ribbon. The wind stoops in its flight across the undulating valley, leaving a mantle of dimpled ruffles on the river's surface and scattering a leafy benediction down from the occasional group of trees that stand upon the banks of this tinsel strand. The prairies stretch for miles and miles on either side, and across their wide expanse through the year come floating down a thousand echoes and the fragrance of countless numbers of prairie flowers. At times from a distant height a fleet-footed deer or antelope may be seen, or the yelp of a coyote heard to mingle with the snap of the cow-boy's whip as his herd sweeps down to the river to drink of its clear and nourishing waters. In the summer when twilight gathers over the hills, a ruffled roll is heard from every side. The prairie chickens, with heads erect and plumes outstretched, strut in lordly manner upon their native heath, and with rustling wings and proudly swelling throats fill the air with re-echoed boomings. In the spring, sand-hill cranes, whose forms float far upward toward the heavens, circle slowly over the river, their occasional cries sounding faint and far off as if from a spirit world. In the fall jack-rabbits scamper through the dead grasses and by their speed put to shame the fleetest of dogs. On the dead limb of a tree the yellow-hammer sits in grave contemplation, and above him the wood-pecker beats a steady tattoo that enlivens the heart of the horny-handed agriculturalist. The river glides smoothly along, and hardly a ripple is heard from its placid current. So still and regular it flows that it seems as if a spell had been laid on its waters. Although the echoes and voices whisper morning and evening to is listless spirit, the river moves noiselessly along with hardly a murmur in response. It is the type of all that is grace and beauty, the queen of rivers. Repose is written in the air above and around it, and peace and rest forever linger at its side. The roll of vaulted thunder falls as lightly on its breast as the whistle of the golden plover. Turtle doves coo to their mates in the branches of trees, and in the shady bends the wood duck bathes his brilliant plumage, while the graceful pickerel in countless numbers can be seen darting through its crystal waters. Under the summer sky, when dainty wild roses blush and emit their sweetness in the glance of molten sun, or under the winter darkness, when its icy barriers are dotted with rabbit tracks, the river softly flows - clear, calm and patient - so steadfast and true, and leaning lightly upon the protecting arm of the great prairie and woodland, Elkhorn gathers the sweep of shimmering waters in a liquid train and gently glides away to the Platte, and the poet might well sing of
"The wild gazette with silver feet,
"Give to me for a play mate sweet."

What an special narrative with little details of bird information!

Shooting Sportsmen

Sketch of sporting editor Sandy Griswold.

It was a new era for Nebraska when Samuel Girard Veals Griswold got a fresh challenge in 1886. He did not like the reporting by the Omaha Bee newspaper that he read while on waiting for the train to continue his trip westward from Ohio. On a challenge, he wrote the "first real baseball story ever printed in Omaha" and became sporting editor for the Omaha "rag." Thank poor reporting for legacy of Sandy Griswold. His recorded efforts will never be surpassed in Nebraska, or elsewhere.

This editor's interest included outdoor sports among many other related activities. In 1888, he came to hunt water fowl in the northern Sandhills, north of the railroad town of Cody. His lake of particular interest was dubbed Three Spring Lake. The water body became the home of the Merganzer Hunt Club, a place known to historians. The lake is now improperly called Cody Lake.

The shooting must have been suberb as his Sunday newspaper columns are grand scribblings of the sandhills scene. His interest continued with subsequent travels elsewhere during the fowl migrations. Included in the list of places are the Lacreek marshes (now Lacreek NWR), at a hunting camp in the Crescent Lake region (now Crescent Lake NWR) with the celebrated Miles Maryott, and many visits to the lakes north of Cody. Griswold and his fellow sportsmen - once some lakeside property was owned by the Metz family, beer brewers of Omaha - established the Merganzer Hunt Club. The men continued many spring and autumn pursuits of members of the finned and feathered animals.

There are asundry other sources based on shooting sports that have provided a few details of birds that help illustrate the species present prior to 1900.

In 1895, Isador Trostler visited Three Springs Lake and wrote about his observations in Nidiologist, a historic bird journal published on the national scene.

A few scattered sources provide a few more details for the distinct sand hills region. This alternative source of birdlife records continues after 1900.

Place Names

The place names given for the bird species records are based on modern name equivalents, with modifiers used to designate locales where there may be multiple instances of that name (i.e., Alkali Lake, Swan Lake). Although modifiers may not be required during this time interlude, the localities conform to the site names designated for many thousands of bird records for the region after 1900.

Localities mentioned with the bird records; providing Site Name; County; State

• Alkali Lake, Irwin Quadrangle; Cherry; NE
• Amelia; Holt; NE
• Anselmo; Custer; NE
• Ballards Marsh WMA; Cherry; NE
• Bassett; Rock; NE
• Blue Lake; Garden; NE
• Bruner Lake; Holt; NE
• Cameron Lake; Rock; NE
• Campbell Lake, Mumper Quadrangle; Garden; NE
• Chambers; Holt; NE
• Cherry County; Cherry; NE
• Cody-North Ranch; McPherson/Hooker; NE
• Crescent Lake; Garden; NE
• Dewey Lake, Valentine NWR; Cherry; NE
• Dismal River; Blaine; NE
• Dismal River Headwaters; Grant; NE
• Dismal River; Hooker; NE
• Goose Lake; Garden; NE
• Grant County; Grant; NE
• Green Valley; Holt; NE
• Hackberry Lake; Garden; NE
• Hackberry Lake, Valentine NWR; Cherry; NE
• Headwaters of the Dismal River; Hooker; NE
• Kennedy; Cherry; NE
• Lake Creek Marshes; Bennett; SD; includes the "Haunted Hole" and "Otter Point"
• Long Pine; Brown; NE
• Long Pine Creek; Brown; NE
• Merriman; Cherry; NE
• Middle Loup River, eastern Sandhills; Custer, Blaine; NE
• Mother Lake; Cherry; NE
• New Helena; Custer; NE
• Pelican Lake, Valentine NWR; Cherry; NE
• Raccoon Lake; Cherry; NE/SD
• Sand Hills; various counties; NE
• Snake River; Cherry; NE
• Stuart; Holt; NE
• Swan Lake; Holt; NE
• Three Springs Lake (a.k.a. Cody Lake); Cherry; NE
• Valentine Lake District; Cherry; NE
• Watts Lake, Valentine NWR; Cherry; NE
• Wolf Lake, Pony Lake Quadrangle; Rock; NE
• Wood Lake Postoffice; Cherry; NE

List of Known Bird Species

After a couple of decades considering and investigating birds of the sand hills, the following records that have been gathered, do document known species and present a bit of further understanding for bird species of the indomitable prairie, a virtual sea of grass. These records are from a database of bird records from the region.

Greater White-fronted Goose

Lake Creek Marshes: late Oct or Nov, 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Raccoon Lake: speckled brant 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901).

Snow Goose

Lake Creek Marshes: white geese in late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Goose Lake: flock on 17 Mar 1894 (Griswold 15 Apr 1894). Crescent Lake: 17 Mar 1895 at Hamilton's place and "mob" on 18 Mar 1895 (Griswold 7 Apr 1895). Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896; brant [distinct from speckled brant] (Griswold 24 Feb 1901).

Canada Goose

Headwaters of the Dismal River: numerous 6 Sep 1877 (Grinnell [Yo] 1877). Three Springs Lake: 25 Oct 1887 (Griswold 8 Aug 1909). Three Springs Lake: thousands in 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Lake Creek Marshes: flock in the sky heard while on duck hunt during late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Raccoon Lake: flocks 9 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Raccoon Lake: 10-12 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Goose Lake: two 17 Mar 1894 (Griswold 15 Apr 1894). Crescent Lake: 18 Mar 1895 (Griswold 7 Apr 1895). Alkali Lake, Irwin Quadrangle: gray and white forms of the "Canadas" (Searle 1896). Raccoon Lake: long solemn lines 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: 26 Oct 1898, also 28 Oct at Cedar Lake, and huge flocks 30 Oct at Haunted Hole (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

[George Lake; Ducey photo]

Trumpeter Swan

Grant County: swans 22-24 Jun 1873 in northwest Grant and southwest Cherry County (Lindsay 1929). Cherry County: swans on 22-24 June 1873 in northwest Grant and southwest Cherry County (Lindsay 1929). Cherry County: swans in summer of 1876 at a lake, western Cherry county area (Cook 1927). Cody-North Ranch: adults and young raised in the summer at the Cody-North Ranch area in headwaters area of the Dismal River; 6 Sep 1877 (North 1961). Crescent Lake: "lovely swan," 17 Mar 1895 (Griswold 7 Apr 1895). Watts Lake, Valentine NWR: used to breed at Watt's Lake when ranches new and few, ca. 1899 (Bates 1899).

Wood Duck

Stuart: wood duck bathes its brilliant plumage, Apr 1885 (Editor 1885).


Headwaters of the Dismal River: many 6 Sep 1877 in headwaters area of the Dismal River, Grant/Hooker (Grinnell [Yo] 1877). Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Valentine Lake District: breed in the lake district (Shoshone 1890). Kennedy: 7 Nov 1891 (Graves 1901).

American Wigeon

Three Springs Lake: 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Lake Creek Marshes: late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Three Springs Lake: 4 Nov 1891 on autumn duck shoot (Griswold 17 Jan 1892). Raccoon Lake: small bunch on 10 Oct 1893, and 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Hackberry Lake: two 17 Mar 1895 (Griswold 7 Apr 1895). Alkali Lake, Irwin Quadrangle: 1896 (Searle 1896). Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: sweeping curves 26 Oct 1898 at Cedar Lake (Griswold 13 Nov 1898). Lake Creek Marshes: score 28 Oct 1898 at Haunted Hole, also 30 Oct 1898, and 1 Nov 1898 (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

American Black Duck

Headwaters of the Dismal River: many 6 Sep 1877 in headwaters area of the Dismal River, Grant/Hooker (Grinnell [Yo] 1877).


Headwaters of the Dismal River: many 6 Sep 1877 in headwaters area of the Dismal River (Grinnell [Yo] 1877). Bruner Lake: eggs collected in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Three Springs Lake: 25 Oct 1887 (Griswold 8 Aug 1909). Three Springs Lake: thousands also along Hay Creek in 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Lake Creek Marshes: 50, 1 shot, flock, et al. in late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Valentine Lake District: breed in the lake district, 1890 (Shoshone 1890). Three Springs Lake: numbers 4 Nov 1891 during autumn duck shoot (Griswold 17 Jan 1892). Raccoon Lake: 09-11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Goose Lake: two 17 Mar 1894 (Griswold 15 Apr 1894). Lake Creek Marshes: 3 shot, 35 taken in the day, 11 Sep 1894 (Lowrey 1894). Goose Lake: flock 17 Mar 1895 (Griswold 7 Apr 1895). Crescent Lake: one 18 Mar 1895 (Griswold 7 Apr 1895). Three Springs Lake: numerous broods, 21 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895). Alkali Lake, Irwin Quadrangle: flocks and large numbers seen, ca. 1896 (Searle 1896). Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: long lines 26 Oct 1898 at Cedar Lake; 13 27 Oct at Otter Point; brace, band on 28 Oct at Haunted Hole; bunch 30 Oct at Haunted Hole; and 1 Nov 1898 (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

[Threesprings Lake; Ducey photo]

Blue-winged Teal

Headwaters of the Dismal River: numerous 6 Sep 1877 in the headwaters area of the Dismal River (Grinnell [Yo] 1877). Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Lake Creek Marshes: teal on the duck shoot, late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Valentine Lake District: breed in the lake district, ca. 1890 (Shoshone 1890). Three Springs Lake: teal on autumn duck shoot, 4 Nov 1891 (Griswold 17 Jan 1892). Raccoon Lake: teal 10 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Lake Creek Marshes: "myriads of teal: 11 Sep 1894 (Lowrey 1894). Crescent Lake: teal 18 Mar 1895 (Griswold 7 Apr 1895). Three Springs Lake: three nests with eggs, 21 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895). Alkali Lake, Irwin Quadrangle: two, ca. 1896 (Searle 1896). Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: 28 Oct 1898 at Haunted Hole, and "big flock" 1 Nov (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Northern Shoveler

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Bassett: 23 Apr 1892 (Graves 1901). Three Springs Lake: numerous broods 21 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895). Cameron Lake: 23 Mar 1896 (Carlin 1896).

Northern Pintail

Three Springs Lake: in 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Crescent Lake: pair 18 Mar 1895 (Griswold 7 Apr 1895). Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901).

Green-winged Teal

Raccoon Lake: bunch 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: wisps 26 Oct 1898 at Cedar Lake (Griswold 13 Nov 1898). Cherry County: winters in the county, ca. 1899 (Bates 1899).


Three Springs Lake: 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Lake Creek Marshes: late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Three Springs Lake: several on autumn duck shoot, 4 Nov 1891 (Griswold 17 Jan 1892). Raccoon Lake: 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Goose Lake: 20, 36, bunch, 60, flock, 100 on 17 March 1894 (Griswold 15 Apr 1894). Crescent Lake: bunch 18 Mar 1895 (Griswold 7 Apr 1895). Three Springs Lake: nests with eight and seven eggs 28 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895). Alkali Lake, Irwin Quadrangle: two in 1896 (Searle 1896). Alkali Lake, Irwin Quadrangle: bred at Irwin in 1896-97 (Bates 1899). Cameron Lake: 23 Mar 1896 (Carlin 1896). Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Hackberry Lake, Valentine NWR: 1897 (Bates 1899). Lake Creek Marshes: seven 29 Oct 1898 (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Sandy Griswold had a bunch of bravado about the taking of several hundred canvasback taken during one his Garden county hunting trips. His shooting success was recalled in several columns in the paper. Griswold eventually wrote for the Omaha World-Herald. Some of his reports were slightly revised and reissued in Forest and Stream, a national publication for sportsmen.


Three Springs Lake: 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Lake Creek Marshes: late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Three Springs Lake: during autumn duck shoot, 4 Nov 1891 (Griswold 17 Jan 1892). Raccoon Lake: 10 Oct 1893, and bunches 11 Oct (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Lake Creek Marshes: 11 Sep 1894 (Lowrey 1894). Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: 26 Oct 1898 at Cedar Lake, 100 on 28 Oct and 24 with ten shot on 30 Oct at the Haunted Hole, and also on 1 Nov (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Ring-necked Duck

Lake Creek Marshes: "black-jack" {probably ring-necked duck, as compared to bluebills also mentioned, which are Lesser Scaup) on 26 Oct 1898 at Cedar Lake (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Lesser Scaup

Headwaters of the Dismal River: abundant 6 Sep 1877 in the headwaters area of the Dismal River (Grinnell [Yo] 1877). Three Springs Lake: bluebills 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Lake Creek Marshes: "blue bills of the duck shoot," late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Three Springs Lake: bluebill of autumn duck shoot 4 Nov 1891 (Griswold 17 Jan 1892). Raccoon Lake: bluebill 10 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Raccoon Lake: scaup 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: "dense masses" 26 Oct 1898 at Cedar Lake, also "dense masses"; bluebill 28 Oct; and bunch 30 Oct 1898 at Haunted Hole (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).


Lake Creek Marshes: "butterball of the duck shoot," in late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Kennedy: 7 Nov 1891 (Graves 1901). Raccoon Lake: "butterball" 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: "butterball" 1 Nov 1898 (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Common Goldeneye

Three Springs Lake: 1888 (Griswold March 1904).

Hooded Merganser

Swan Lake: 10 Sep 1891 (Graves 1901).

Common Merganser

Lake Creek Marshes: merganzer late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Three Springs Lake: 4 Nov 1891 during autumn duck shoot (Griswold 17 Jan 1892). Crescent Lake: 18 Mar 1895 (Griswold 7 Apr 1895).

Ruddy Duck

Lake Creek Marshes: late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Bassett: 23 Apr 1892 (Graves 1901). Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: ruddies 26 Oct 1898 at Cedar Lake (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Greater Sage-Grouse

Sand Hills: taken in sandhills of western NE about 1896 (Nebraska Ornithologists' Union 1895-1915).

Sharp-tailed Grouse

Middle Loup River, eastern Sandhills: present around 1873 on the lower Middle Loup River section of the sandhills (Grinnell [Ornis] 1873). Middle Loup River, eastern Sandhills: mid-October to mid-November 1875; Middle Loup river west and north of New Helena (H. B. A. 1891). New Helena: covies Oct and Nov 1875 (Initials 1876). New Helena: covies Nov 1875 (H. B. A. 1891). Dismal River: covies in hills at lower stretch (Initials 1876). New Helena: 1876 (Initials 1876). Bruner Lake: fairly common, eggs collected in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Kennedy: 25 Apr 1892 (Graves 1901). Anselmo: May 1893 (Hubbard 1893a). Raccoon Lake: five 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Lake Creek Marshes: 11 Sep 1894; this year are quite scarce (Lowrey 1894).

Greater Prairie-Chicken

Middle Loup River, eastern Sandhills: present around 1873 on the lower Middle Loup River section of the sandhills (Grinnell [Ornis] 1873). Wolf Lake, Pony Lake Quadrangle: into northeast sandhills from agency of Yankton Sioux in July 1873; "Into the stew-pots went venison, beans, a rabbit, and prairie hen." (Leeds 1873). Dismal River Headwaters: in 1874 (Bratt 1921). Middle Loup River, eastern Sandhills: mid-October to mid-November 1875 on Middle Loup river west and north of New Helena (H. B. A. 1891). New Helena: Nov 1875 (H. B. A. 1891). New Helena: one of the types of game birds in Oct and Nov 1875 (Initials 1876). New Helena: in 1876 (Initials 1876). Bruner Lake: numerous, eggs collected in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Stuart: prairie chickens strut and boom in Apr 1885 (Editor 1885). Bassett: 9 Sep 1891 (Graves 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: 11 Sep 1894; this year are quite scarce (Lowrey 1894).

Wild Turkey

Middle Loup River, eastern Sandhills: present occasionally around 1873 on the lower Middle Loup River section of the sandhills (Grinnell [Ornis] 1873). Long Pine Creek: 19 Dec 1878; reach extraordinary size of 25 pounds (X.Y.Z. 1878).

Northern Bobwhite

Middle Loup River, eastern Sandhills: present around 1873 on the lower Middle Loup River section of the sandhills (Grinnell [Ornis] 1873).

Common Loon

Three Springs Lake: one 4 Nov 1891; seen on autumn duck shoot (Griswold 17 Jan 1892). Raccoon Lake: "weird bravura" of loon 9 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893).

Pied-billed Grebe

Lake Creek Marshes: hell-diver 1 Nov 1898 (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Horned Grebe

Valentine Lake District: breeds commonly at lakes; also @1888-1902 breeds in Cherry County (Nebraska Bird Review 1:143).

Eared Grebe

Snake River: 17 Sep 1856 , collected by Dr. Hayden (Baird et al. 1858).

Western Grebe

Mother Lake: 10 Nov 1898 (Nebraska Bird Review 1:147; ZM 14659).

Land survey map of Pelican, Dads and Whitewater lakes in 1875. This area is currently part of Valentine NWR.

American White Pelican

Cherry County: in the summer of 1876 at a lake in western Cherry county area (Cook 1927). Pelican Lake, Valentine NWR: 1 Jul 1885; when lake named, pelicans not an unusual sight (Correspondent 1927). Cherry County: 15 south of Wood Lake on 5 Jun 1897 (Bates 1899).

American Bittern

Sand Hills: one male 11 Aug 1857 at Sand Hills of Platte; collected by Dr. Hayden (Baird et al. 1858). Bruner Lake: probable nester, 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Lake Creek Marshes: late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Bassett: 8 Sep 1891 (Graves 1901). Three Springs Lake: nest with four eggs in the lake area, 23 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895). Lake Creek Marshes: 30 Oct 1898 at Haunted Hole, and one on 1 Nov (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Great Blue Heron

Three Springs Lake: big blue crane in 1888 (Griswold March 1904).

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Lake Creek Marshes: late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901).


Three Springs Lake: one seen on autumn duck shoot, 4 Nov 1891 (Griswold 17 Jan 1892). Raccoon Lake: wild scream of fish hawk 9 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893).

Bald Eagle

Raccoon Lake: 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Lake Creek Marshes: 30 Oct 1898 (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Northern Harrier

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b).

Northern Goshawk

Kennedy: October 1896 (Bates 1899).

Swainson's Hawk

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 in the area (Bruner 1902b). Cherry County: common and undoubtedly breeds (Bates 1899).

Red-tailed Hawk

Raccoon Lake: five "Mr. Red Tail" on 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Lake Creek Marshes: 28 Oct 1898 over Wolf Slough, also 30 Oct (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Rough-legged Hawk

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Cherry County: present in the county area in 1896 (Bates 1899).

Golden Eagle

Lake Creek Marshes: one shot and captured 1 Nov 1898 (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).


Lake Creek Marshes: pigeon hawk shot in later October 1891; stuffed for Griswold (Griswold 30 Aug 1908).

King Rail

Ballards Marsh WMA: in September 1896 (Bates 1899).

American Coot

Bruner Lake: eggs collected in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Three Springs Lake: 25 Oct 1887 (Griswold 8 Aug 1909). Raccoon Lake: mud hen 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Three Springs Lake: nesting at the lake, 28 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895). Lake Creek Marshes: 28 Oct 1898 at Haunted Hole (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Sandhill Crane

Sand Hills: "not rare, especially in the Sand Hills of Nebraska" ca. 1857 (Hayden 1863). Wolf Lake, Pony Lake Quadrangle: on 1 Aug 1873 "shot at two cranes perched on a hill, secured one" (Leeds 1873). Cody-North Ranch: young in the summer of 1879 at the Cody-North Ranch in the headwaters area of the Dismal River (North 1961). Bruner Lake: young in 1883-84, and "summer breeding resident" (Bruner 1902b). Stuart: sand hill cranes in the spring, Apr 1885 (Editor 1885). Three Springs Lake: flocks in 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Lake Creek Marshes: "cranes heard in the sky," late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: flocks in later October 1891 (Griswold 30 Aug 1908). Green Valley: Mar 1894 (Hunters 1894). Lake Creek Marshes: three adults and young in nest at a sandhill lake, likely this locale on 24 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895). Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: one shot 27 Oct 1898; "long string" 28 Oct at Haunted Hole; flocks 29 Oct; 1 Nov (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Whooping Crane

These two records - based on the one given date of occurrence - are hypothetical. Griswold was a "prose poet" and would mention particular species for dramatic presentation.

Three Springs Lake: small bunches in 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Campbell Lake, Mumper Quadrangle: 3 Mar 1895; in the lake vicinity (Griswold 7 Apr 1895).


Headwaters of the Dismal River: 6 Sep 1877 in the headwaters area of the Dismal River (Grinnell [Yo] 1877). Lake Creek Marshes: late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Three Springs Lake: 21 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895).

American Avocet

Headwaters of the Dismal River: "large flock" 6 Sep 1877 in the headwaters area of the Dismal River (Grinnell [Yo] 1877). Three Springs Lake: "snowy avocets" in 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Raccoon Lake: pair of "snowy avocet" shot 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Blue Lake: "in the upper shallows ... saw them by the thousands and tens of thousands; in one hour's shoot killed something like seventy birds," in 1894 (Griswold 1895c). Blue Lake: 1895 (Griswold 1895c). Dewey Lake, Valentine NWR: breeds 1896 (Rapp 1954).

Lesser Yellowlegs

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Three Springs Lake: 25 Oct 1887 (Griswold 8 Aug 1909). Three Springs Lake: yellowlegs 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Lake Creek Marshes: late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Raccoon Lake: 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Raccoon Lake: yellowlegs 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: yellowlegs 27 Oct 1898 at Otter Point; 28 Oct at Haunted Hole; dozens 30 Oct at Haunted Hole; 1 Nov (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).


Bruner Lake: 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Watts Lake, Valentine NWR: 30 May 1893 (Graves 1901).

Upland Sandpiper

Middle Loup River, eastern Sandhills: present around 1873 on the lower Middle Loup River section of the sandhills (Grinnell [Ornis] 1873). Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Three Springs Lake: 21 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895).

Long-billed Curlew

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Three Springs Lake: sickle-billed curlew in 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Kennedy: 28 Apr 1892 (Graves 1901). Raccoon Lake: 11 Oct 1893; curlew (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Three Springs Lake: four just-hatched young, 22 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895).

Least Sandpiper

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b).

Baird's Sandpiper

Headwaters of the Dismal River: several 6 Sep 1877 in the headwaters area of the Dismal River (Grinnell [Yo] 1877). Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b).

Stilt Sandpiper

Cherry County: shot in 1896 (Bates 1899).

Wilson's Snipe

Headwaters of the Dismal River: seen occasionally 6 Sep 1877 in the headwaters area of the Dismal River (Grinnell [Yo] 1877). Chambers: "jack snipes are screeching and the way the game bags and guns were gathering up wasn't slow"; 6 May 1886 (Chambers Chestnuts correspondents column; Yum Yum 1886). Three Springs Lake: 1888 (Griswold March 1904). Amelia: "snipe hunting was brisk on Sunday last," 11 Aug 1889 (Nix 1889). Lake Creek Marshes: "jacksnipe seen on two outings," late Oct or Nov 1890 (Griswold 8 Dec 1901). Kennedy: 25 Apr 1892 (Graves 1901). Raccoon Lake: four, 15-20, 24, "flurry" and "skeap of the jack-snipe" on 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Alkali Lake, Irwin Quadrangle: 1896 (Searle 1896). Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896 (Griswold 24 Feb 1901). Lake Creek Marshes: several 30 Oct 1898 at Haunted Hole (Griswold 13 Nov 1898). Merriman: 18 May 1899 (Bates 1899).

Wilson's Phalarope

Headwaters of the Dismal River: hundreds 6 Sep 1877 in the headwaters area of the Dismal River (Grinnell [Yo] 1877). Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Three Springs Lake: from 24-28 Jun 1895, young (Trostler 1895). Lake Creek Marshes: "little bevies" 28 Oct 1898, and big flocks 30 Oct, both at Haunted Hole (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Forster's Tern

Bruner Lake: eggs collected in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b).

Black Tern

Bruner Lake: eggs collected in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b).

[Pass Creek ponds; Ducey photo]

Mourning Dove

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Stuart: turtle doves coo to their mates; Apr 1885 (Editor 1885). Three Springs Lake: 21 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895).

Snowy Owl

Wood Lake Postoffice: one 30 Nov 1898, carcass sent to the University (Nebraska Ornithologists' Union 1895-1915).

Burrowing Owl

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b).

Great Gray Owl

Long Pine: stuffed specimen in a railroad town saloon in 1896 (Bruner 1896).

Short-eared Owl

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Kennedy: 1 Feb 1893 (Graves 1901).

Common Nighthawk

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Swan Lake: set of two eggs collected 23 Jun 1893 (University of Nebraska State Museum ZM 8498). Three Springs Lake: nest with two young 22 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895).

Belted Kingfisher

Raccoon Lake: one 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893).

Lewis's Woodpecker

Snake River: 17 Jun 1860 at the Snake River, Cherry county (Coues 1874). Long Pine: bird secured 19 Apr 1899 (Nebraska Ornithologists' Union 1895-1915).

Downy Woodpecker

Stuart: woodpecker "beats a steady tattoo" in Apr 1885 (Editor 1885).

Northern Flicker

Stuart: yellow hammer in the tree Apr 1885 (Editor 1885).

Loggerhead Shrike

Kennedy: 29 Apr 1892 (Graves 1901).

Pinyon Jay

Long Pine: a few pinion jay 9 Aug 1897 (Bates 1899). Long Pine: 2 Oct 1897 (Bates 1899).

American Crow

Raccoon Lake: 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893).

Horned Lark

Bruner Lake: present 1883-84 in the area (Bruner 1902b).

Barn Swallow

Dismal River: two birds at a nest in July 1870 along the western Dismal River, Hooker (Mitchell 1987).

Marsh Wren

Sand Hills: 12 Aug 1857; 1 female collected by Dr. Hayden (Baird et al. 1858). Bruner Lake: common and nesting in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Lake Creek Marshes: 27 Oct 1898 (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Mountain Bluebird

Snake River: Snake River in 1860 (Coues 1874).

Townsend's Solitaire

Long Pine: one 15 Jan 1898; specimen sent to W.D. Hunter (Nebraska Ornithologists' Union 1895-1915). Long Pine: 24 Jan 1898; very numerous (Nebraska Ornithologists' Union 1895-1915).

American Pipit

Snake River: in the 1860s [1860] or 1870s at the Snake River, Cherry (Coues 1874).

Western Tanager

Snake River: 18 Jun 1860 at the Snake River, Cherry {Hayden} (Coues 1874).

American Tree Sparrow

Kennedy: 1 Mar 1893 (Graves 1901).

Lark Sparrow

Sand Hills: one 12 August, Sand Hills [?Cherry County] and 1 female in 1857; collected by Dr. Hayden (Baird et al. 1858). Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 at lake and area (Bruner 1902b).

Lark Bunting

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b).

Grasshopper Sparrow

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Three Springs Lake: 21 Jun 1895 in the lake area (Trostler 1895).

Lincoln's Sparrow

Swan Lake: 11 Sep 1891 (Graves 1901).

McCown's Longspur

Dismal River: four specimens collected 18 Sep 1878 by G.B. Grinnell at the Dismal River, Hooker/Grant (Birdcraft Museum catalog Number B555 to B558).

Blue Grosbeak

Long Pine: 13 Jun 1899; secured a nesting bird (Nebraska Ornithologists' Union 1895-1915).


Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Three Springs Lake: 21 Jun 1895 in the lake area (Trostler 1895).


Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Three Springs Lake: 21 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895).

Red-winged Blackbird

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Raccoon Lake: blackbirds 9 and 11 Oct 1893 (Griswold 26 Nov 1893). Crescent Lake: blackbirds 18 Mar 1895 (Griswold 7 Apr 1895). Lake Creek Marshes: 30 Oct 1898 (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Western Meadowlark

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 in the area (Bruner 1902b). Three Springs Lake: nest with four eggs in the lake area 22 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895).

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b). Swan Lake: 11 Sep 1891 (Graves 1901). Three Springs Lake: numerous and breeding 28 Jun 1895 (Trostler 1895). Lake Creek Marshes: 27 Oct 1898 (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).

Rusty Blackbird

Dismal River: two specimens collected 15 Sep 1878 G.B. Grinnell at the Dismal River (Birdcraft Museum Catalog Number B254 and B255).

Common Grackle

Dismal River: one specimen collected 15 Sep 1878 by G.B. Grinnell at the Dismal River (Birdcraft Museum Catalog Number B264).

Brown-headed Cowbird

Bruner Lake: present in 1883-84 (Bruner 1902b).

Cassin's Finch

Snake River: 1860 (Coues 1874).

Common Redpoll

Kennedy: about 1899 (Bates 1899).

Some additional records are available for the following generic bird types, as mentioned in the historic narratives:


Wolf Lake, Pony Lake Quadrangle; 2 in July 1873; Indians into northeast sandhills from agency of Yankton Sioux; "we rode into the hills for a shot at two cranes perched on an elevation at no great distance" (Leeds 1873).


Three Springs Lake: 30 Sep 1874 at South Run lake: ducks abundant during visit of northern boundary survey party (Ten Dog 1874).

New Helena: Nov 1875; ducks of various kinds were about (Initials 1876).

Middle Loup River, eastern Sandhills: mid-October to mid-November 1875; Middle Loup river west and north of New Helena; "all the water-fowl common to the West" (H. B. A. 1891).

Green Valley: Mar 1894; 2307 ducks of various strains and plumages (Hunters 1894).


Three Springs Lake: 30 Sep 1874 at South Run lake; geese abundant during visit of northern boundary survey party (Ten Dog 1874).

New Helena: flocks of wild geese on the river sandbars of the Middle Loup (Initials 1876).

Middle Loup River, eastern Sandhills: mid-October to mid-November 1875; Middle Loup river west and north of New Helena; "all the water-fowl common to the West" (H. B. A. 1891).

Green Valley: Mar 1894; 786 geese taken (Hunters 1894).


Lake Creek Marshes: 28 Oct 1898; white gull at Haunted Hole (Griswold 13 Nov 1898).


Lake Creek Marshes: 1 Nov 1898; large white old owl (Griswold 13 Nov 1898). This is a hypothetical record since Griswold was often effusive in his sporting columns and may have said a species was present whereas he just included it for reasons to make his columns more enticing and to set a dramatic scene for his readers.


Headwaters of the Dismal River: 6 Sep 1877; several oxeyes (Grinnell [Yo] 1877).


Three Springs Lake: 1888 (Griswold March 1904).

Unidentified Birds

Raccoon Lake: 7 Mar 1896; swamp sparrow (Griswold 24 Feb 1901).


The citations are not presented in a standard fashion within the narrative since some authors (especially sporting editor Sandy Griswold) may have had several items published each month, or year. The reference's are not listed here for various particular reasons, although each is a very detailed record within the bird database that was the origin of this analysis.

The Nebraska Newspaper Project - underway now for many years - provided the copies of historic newspapers on microfilm that made the special little details essential for a thorough review of information, available for directed review. One result is that the complete text for many of the citations given are available online, especially at the Birds of Nebraska website provided by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

22 September 2007

Gull State at Memorial Stadium

By James Ed. Ducey

There was more than excitement in the air as another football Saturday got underway in Lincoln.

A flock of migratory, autumn gulls visited the downtown scene as the regular avid fans were flocking to watch the Cornhuskers play Ball State in Memorial Stadium.

The birds - Franklin's Gulls - were first noted flying just above the buildings on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. As they slowly moved southward, they flew above and among the taller buildings of downtown. The flock of an estimated 75 birds eventually continued southward past the state capitol and were lost to view as they continued their journey.

The gulls were behaving in a manner very similar to Chimney Swifts, a few of which were also present but not as predominant in the skies.

Airspace of the scene was quite busy at the time. There were at least two helicopters present, including one with a camera mounted on its lower surface, likely to provide video for the came being telecast on pay-per-view. Another buzzed past quickly on a route north to south, just above the meandering flight paths of the gulls.

Different small, personal planes circled about the sellout crowd in the stadium.

Once the game was underway, a historic Ford Tri-motor plane made a slow, circular route above the city. The "Silverhawk" - 78 years old- had been a firebomber and a Dominican president's private plane, according to news reports. "It was also featured the 1965 Jerry Lewis movie The Family Jewels."

A couple of other more typical planes also circled the football stadium, as well as the seemingly ubiquitous high flying jets, marked by their contrails.

Upon scoring by the home team, other items were added to the atmosphere. The first was a bunch of smoke from fireworks. Then when other points were added to the scoreboard, a big bunch of balloons were released.

The latter will end up as a bunch of trash somewhere...

Another flock of about 100 gulls - some barely visible way up in the sky, was over the city campus at the end of the game. An American Kestrel, calling during a short flight to a perch, seemingly celebrating Nebraska's one point victory, from its vantage point atop nearby Hamilton Hall.

The visiting gulls certainly had the best view of the land action of anyone or anything in attendance.

19 September 2007

Habitat Projects Along Central Missouri River to Benefit Terns and Plovers

Least Terns nesting on the Missouri National Recreational River.

By James Ed. Ducey

Work was initiated in August on habitat projects to benefit two federally listed bird species, the endangered interior Least Tern and threatened Piping Plover. This work will occur within the 59 mile long segment of the Missouri River designated as the Missouri National Recreational River. The projects are being carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Contractors began work to create three emergent sandbar habitat complexes. One of the complexes will be constructed using hydraulic dredges and the other two will be constructed using mechanical earth moving equipment such as bull dozers, excavators, and scrapers, according to Luke Wallace, a biologist in the Corps' Omaha District, and project manager for the three emergent sandbar habitat projects below Gavins Point Dam..

"The sand used to construct the sandbars will be taken from the adjacent river bed at each location," according to a Corps press release. "Construction will last through fall and winter months with a scheduled completion date of April 15, 2008. Timely completion will ensure the habitat will be in place when terns and plovers return to nest next spring."

"These complexes will be constructed to provide nesting habitat for the least tern and piping plover, two bird species protected under the Endangered Species Act," according to Omaha District Commander Col. David C. Press.

Yearly populations of Terns and Plovers on the Missouri National Recreational River (Data courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers).


Least Tern

Piping Plover































"One ESH complex will be constructed at Missouri River Mile 791.5, near Wynot, Neb.," according to the press release. "The other two complexes will be constructed south of Vermillion, S.D., near the Highway 19 Bridge. One of those will be constructed near Missouri River Mile 774, about two miles downstream of the bridge. The other will be constructed at Missouri River mile 777.5, about 1.5 miles upstream of the bridge and adjacent to the Frost Wilderness Game Production Area in South Dakota.

The sandbars created will vary in size, according to Corps officials.

River Mile 791.5 complex = 40 acres of emergent sandbar
RM 777.7 complex = 74 acres of emergent sandbar and 15 acres of backwater.
RM 774 complex = 49 acres of emergent sandbar

The acreages of ESH listed above represent the amount of sandbar habitat that would be exposed above the water surface at a Gavins Point Dam discharge of 25,000 cubic feet per second.

The total cost of all three projects combined is approximately $8.8 million, The Corps said.

Once the project are completed next year, the response of the terns and plovers will be closely watched.

"The sandbars will be monitored weekly during the nesting season," according to Wallace. "Survey crews will locate nests and monitor the nests until the nests are terminated at which time a nest fate will be applied. Crews will monitor the chicks until they fledge. An adult census will be conducted during the nesting season. Vegetation will be monitored to determine species type and growth.

At river mile 777.5, some aquatic habitat will be constructed in conjunction with the sandbar project.

"Sediment from a historic river channel on the Frost property will be used as an alternative borrow source for the complex, resulting in the restoration of a 15-acre backwater connected to the Missouri River," according to the Corps press release. "The backwater will provide habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, fish and mussels, and will provide new public fishing and hunting opportunities at the Frost Wilderness Game Production Area."

There has been a positive response of the terns and plovers to newly created sandbars that were the result of previous projects by the Corps.

Tern and plover use at previous sandbar habitat creation projects (Data courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers).


Tern Adults

Tern Fledglings

Plover Adults

Plover Fledglings

River Mile 755 Complex (Ponca)





















RM 761
















RM 770 Complex
















"The first year of use for each of the created sandbars was very productive for both species," Wallace said. "Since then productivity has decreased though the sandbars still attract large numbers of adults. Generally the nest success has been very good at all three sites with 60-70% of the nests having at least one egg hatch. The poor productivity is probably due to predation by owls, hawks, minks, raccoons.

Newly created sandbar habitat at the Ponca Complex, 2004. Photos courtesy of the Corps of Engineers.

"The sandbar habitat has also been used by waterfowl and shorebirds and unfortunately the aforementioned raptors," Wallace said.

For safety purposes, public access to construction and staging areas will be restricted, eliminating recreation and hunting opportunities during the construction period, Sept. 1, 2007 through April 15, 2008.

These projects are part of the Corps effort to implement recommendations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in its Biological Opinion on the Operation of the Missouri River Main Stem System.

18 September 2007

Federal Wetland Programs Help Develop Habitat Along the Missouri River

Missouri River wetland during flooding.

By James Ed. Ducey

Wetland programs of the Natural Resources Conservation Service are playing an important role in developing habitat for wildlife along the central Missouri River between Rulo and Ponca NE.

Since the Wildlife Reserve Enhancement Program's inception in 2004, nearly 10,000 acres have been developed for wildbirds and other local fauna along the Missouri River, according to agency personnel.

Wetlands within about one mile of the river qualify for this program that offers increased management options such as "linking" neighboring wetlands, staff said. Lands further from the river and through out the state may qualify for the Wetlands Reserve Program.

"Our success can be seen in the wildlife response following restoration," agency staff said. Typical wildlife habitat types developed on a contract area may include "Palustrine wetland habitat that is seasonally flooded. The area also included grassland habitat of tallgrass prairie, and woodland habitat of eastern riparian forest."

Annual monitoring efforts from one observation review indicate typical bird species which benefit include the Common Grackle, Dickcissel, Killdeer, Red-winged Blackbird, Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Duck, Mallard, Spotted Sandpiper and Ring-necked Pheasant.

Monitoring programs are accomplished as employee schedules permit and may not always be done at a time such as migration periods when the most diverse array of birds might be present.

Other fauna which benefit from the newly established habitat include amphibians such as bull frogs and Blanchard's cricket frogs.

One of the few public sites where birders can view the success of the project is at Boyer Chute, near Fort Calhoun, NE. Work here included recreating the old river chute, thus widening the river floodplain, agency staff explained.

Another public area is the Peru Bottoms site, east of Peru, now owned by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. East of Rulo, a project site is visible from the county road.

Other project sites are closed to public access since they are private property of the landowners.

"The success is in the numbers," an agency representative explained. There have been at least 93 WREP contracts with landowners:

2004 - 21 contracts for 1,680 acres
2005 - 35 contracts for 4,280 acres
2006 - 22 contracts for 2,000 acres
2007 - 15 contracts for 1,800 acres (through June 2007)
Total: 93 contracts for 9,760 acres

There has been $19.2 million committed to the program, through May 2007. The overall goal is to enroll 18,800 acres in the WREP.

Missouri River wetlands east of Nebraska City. All photos courtesy of the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Lincoln, Nebraska office.

"In addition to providing the typical on-site, wetland-related benefits, these lands under easement also contribute to the objective of riverine corridor restoration on a larger scale in future years," agency staff said.

Each wetland plan includes two primary steps.

There is restoration, which is the construction phase when water control structures are put in place. Typically, this included excavation of sediments. De-leveling a field, breaking sub-surface tile lines and seeding native grasses and forbs.

A management plan is then developed to guide agency personnel in providing maximum benefits for flora and fauna.

"The goal is to provide a diversity of hydrologic and vegetative conditions that benefit migratory and resident birds and other wetland dependent species throughout all seasons of the year. Special emphasis is placed on shorebirds, wading birds, and waterfowl."

Flood control is another primary reason for the wetland restorations.

The biggest targeting factor in the ranking to select program sites is the proximity to the existing river channel, agency staff explained. "This helps focus efforts on chutes, back waters, and oxbows.

The Wetlands Reserve Program (of which WREP is a part) has a primary objective to restore and maintain habitat for migratory birds and to address threatened and endangered species habitat needs where possible.

The NRCS continues to look for project sites. "We are continuously seeking and taking applications for wetland restorations. It is a not stop process. In FY 2007 for both WRP and WREP, we signed 47 contracts to restore 5,200 acres," agency staff said. Of special interest are wetlands that can be linked to establish a corridor along the river edge.

"For the Lower Missouri River WREP, lands in the floodplain within a mile of the river, that were previously wetlands, old river channel, hydric soils, etc., that can be restored to a wetland," are the current emphasis. "These sites have hydric soil types that would have hydrophytic vegetation if not previously disturbed. Many have been converted to cropland."

"Landowners can opt for a 10-year restoration cost-share agreement; a 30-year conservation easement, or a permanent easement, which has been the most popular selection, according to a NRCS news release.

"Efforts of the WREP and Army Corps of Engineers mitigation efforts have blended well," NRCS staff said. "Wetland restoration enrollments have come from both sources.

Probably the best example came this spring on a WRP (before WREP) site south of Plattsmouth. NRCS worked with the landowner on the wetland restoration. The Corps is involved with stream bank sloughing and shallow water habitat restoration and notching of the dike along the river which allowed high flows from the river into the wetland, relieving pressure flooding downstream while the wetland held back the water, slowing releasing it back to the river. Adjacent neighbors downstream have now enrolled wetlands."

Following the WREP project, the Corps has bought some of the wetland from the landowner as part of their mitigation requirements. The shallow water habitat is needed for recovery of the endangered pallid sturgeon.

Other agencies or groups involved in these projects includes the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Ducks Unlimited and local natural resource districts.

The Nature Conservancy is contributing funds to WREP in NE, and a wetlands restoration specialist was newly hired in June. In late May, the group received $80,000 from Cargill to support its activities. "The money will be used to complete an 85-acre restoration in Burt County," a press release said.

"Cargill is pleased to support the wetlands restoration, and would be doubly pleased if our contribution spurred interest among others to join in the effort," Eric Johnson, facility manager for Cargill's Corn Milling plant in nearby Blair, said in a news release. "This project fits perfectly with Cargill's approach to environmental stewardship."

Further information on WREP is available at the NRCS website.

Missouri River wetland scene.

06 September 2007

Grazing Management Underway at Arbor Lake WMA

© 2007 James Ed. Ducey

The extent of grass cover at Arbor Lake WMA is currently being managed through grazing of cattle.

Stock panels have been placed across the entries to the parking lot, but the area remains open, said Chuck Lesiak, with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and manager of the area.

There are 36 cattle are now present on the 63-acre tract. “They will remain as long as there is sufficient feed and are creating the desired results,” Lesiak said. “That will probably be later this month.”

Grazing will continue to be a tool used for managing the beetles and birds.

Extent of water at Arbor Lake WMA. 11 Sept 2007 photos by J.E. Ducey.

“The extent of grazing depends on the response,” Lesiak said. “We are trying to reduce the vegetation and create areas more attractive to tiger beetles. There will probably be some grazing next spring to impact the cattails.”

Lesiak also noted that “there is potential harm to tiger beetles if cattle are allowed to graze where larva are present. An inventory was done and those areas of concern" were surrounded by electric fence to exclude grazing.

Water levels will continue to be maintained at a lower level this autumn and winter, Lesiak said. “The water control gate will be raised for spring migration, but not to the extent it was this past year.”

Grazing that removes vegetative cover is also known to be helpful for wildbirds, making the water environment more accessible in a wetland.

Arbor Lake WMA and Frank Shoemaker Marsh, both on north 27th Street, are now being managed with a greater focus on saline habitat needs of tiger beetles.

Both tracts are owned by the City of Lincoln.

05 September 2007

Wildbirds as Incidental Take and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

© 2007 James Ed. Ducey

With wild bird migration underway, this breeding season's young of North America are winging southward in family flocks. Each bird's journey has an infinite plethora of deadly threats.

Buildings are an especially known hazard. The places are different, but the results are the same.

"Estimates that collisions with glass kill up to 1 billion birds a year in the United States alone," have been made by Dr. Daniel Klem, a Muhlenberg College ornithologist. The professor's studies during three decades indicate the population impacts of birds striking windows. He has estimated that the "annual mortality from collisions with glass for the U.S. alone and for the entire North American continent range from approximately 100 million to 1 billion birds, representing from 0.5 to 5% of the fall bird population," according to details of published scientific papers. "Extensive observations and experiments suggest that collisions with plate glass result in more avian mortalities than any other human-associated factor."

This biology gets mixed with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Each case of mortality is considered as incidental take, under the international legislation passed nearly ninety years ago. A violation of the act can lead to a hefty fine.

Incidental take, however, is not subject to any legal action under the MBTA.

Any instances of wildbirds striking windows will not be subject to any legal enforcement, not as incidental take, according to representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency responsible for enforcement.

"There are no incidental take permits issued under the MBTA; the law has no provision for such permits," said Albert M. Manville, II, wildlife biologist with the FWS Division of Migratory Bird Management.

There have not been any incidental permits issued under the MBTA, according to local and national FWS officials.

"Although it is not possible under the MBTA to absolve individuals, companies, or agencies from liability (even if they implement avian mortality avoidance or similar conservation measures), the Office of Law enforcement focuses on those individuals, companies, or agencies that take migratory birds without regard for their actions and the law, especially when conservation measures have been developed but are not properly implemented by these entities," according to an official with the Director's office of the FWS.

FWS "law enforcement is not going to enforce MBTA if they lack a 'conservation measure' or suggested practice that would avoid or minimize take. However, if lighting and/or bird-safe glass can be shown scientifically (e.g., published in refereed, peer-reviewed journals) to eliminate or reduce bird collisions, then that creates a new option for a partnership and collaborative approach with industry. Where law enforcement wishes to work with the building glass and building lighting folks to avoid and minimize impacts and the industry refuses to work with us, that creates a completely different scenario. One needs only look to the U.S. vs. Moon lake Electric utility case for legal precedent," said Manville.

"Look objectively at this situation ... you can see where prosecution for window strikes is never going to happen," said one FWS official. "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not going to pursue it, the Department of Justice is not going to prosecute it and Congress is not going to allow it."

Another view supports a change so there is a legally binding provision regarding incidental take within the MBTA.

"U.S. courts have established strict liability for unintentional avian mortality associated with pesticides and power lines pursuant to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, as amended, or the Endangered Species Act of 1973" (in Daniel Klem et al. 2004, Wilson Bulletin 116(1): 69-73.); "however, the courts have not established strict liability for fatalities associated with vehicle, tower, or glass collisions. Our results suggest that bird kills at glass are substantial, foreseeable, and avoidable and we suggest that birds merit consideration for protection from glass collision under the purview of the MBTA and ESA."

Any change would require federal legislation.

"Education is the direction to move on this issue" said Mark Webb, a special agent with the Service, in Nebraska.. "Law Enforcement is not the answer, as public and corporate support is not there."

The Fish and Wildlife Service has a program on birds striking structures, towers, and especially glass surfaces.

Dr. Klem continues his research and education. ??Strathmore College has a professor aware of the concerns.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a locale for bird mortality from window strikes, has 774 known instances since 1969 when remains of a male and female Common Nighthawk were found at Sheldon Art Gallery. The most recent carcasses were found Labor Day weekend. About 85 species are represented in the tally.

There is an awareness of bird strikes by biologists in the Life Sciences Department, where students occasionally may collect bird carcasses for Ornithology class, being allowed to do so by a provision of the MBTA. Each year the official collector that has the permit of authorization, must file a report providing a list of each record.

Facilities Management had been aware of occasional bird strikes, but had not previously seen any documentation until presented a summary list. UNL would like to "know what needs to be done to prevent window strikes," said Ted Weidner, director of the campus Facilities Management department.

Any methods to obscure window surfaces would undergo a thorough review process. Items of particular consideration are "how it would affect architectural features of the building" and it would get a look from the aesthetic review committee of the University, Weidner said. The 309 Task Force of the State of Nebraska is also involved with funding building maintenance on Campus and would have their considerations.

Top priorities for the campus, Weidner said, are meeting the overall University goals with building features and aesthetics, and more recently, to ensure they are LIED Program compliant.

Weidner said Facilities Management was interested in options and costs for three example locales on city campus that are known places for repeated window strikes. The sites are Oldfather Hall, Cather-Pound-Neihardt and Nebraska Hall connection. An educational facet may be included to get students involved with an option for the C-P-N residence.

The FWS does not currently have staff available to assist developers and builders.

"None yet since we have not as yet even begun the field studies, so we're not yet close to implementing what we anticipate may result from the field research - based on some preliminary field testing performed by Dr. Klem in Pennsylvania," Manville said.

Manville, as the specialist in window strikes for the FWS, has given public presentations at a Chicago birds-building forum in 2005, and in spring 2006 at a "No Birds Left Behind" conference in Wisconsin. In February 2007 he will present a paper on "Birds-Buildings-Communication Towers-Wind Turbines-and Power Lines."

"Regarding daytime bird strikes, the Bird-Safe Glass Initiative was begun in New York City in December, 2005. A FWS biologist served as a technical advisor on this committee. Funding is being sought to field test a relatively new UV filter (birds are highly sensitive to the UV spectrum). The UV filter will be pasted on the outside of glass and impregnated within the actual window during construction. This is a promising -- but yet field-tested -- technology that may serve as a major breakthrough allowing birds to finally see glass and avoid windows." said an anonymous FWS official in response to an email to the Director's office.

The FWS is currently seeking funding to study viable methods to use with the window strike problem, through the California Energy Commission, and another proposal through the National Science Foundation, according to Manville.

Common products that can be considered now to reduce the extent of wildbirds hitting windows, include CollidEscape, WindowAlert, Whispering Windows, Feather Guard, decals and other things found using an online search. There are sites with additional tips to reduce bird strikes against windows.

Bird-friendly building designs can also be helpful in evaluating new construction or building modifications. The New York Audubon Society has prepared a fine report on this subject, and present it in full color on their web site.

02 September 2007

History for Birdlife of Wood Creek, Happy Hollow and the Hills of Dundee, Omaha

© 2007 James Ed. Ducey, a sporadic resident in Dundee. This article was previously published in the Chronicles for the neighborhood. It has not been updated.

With settlement of the territory of the Missouri River setting at Omaha, land claimed as property was bought, sold and developed as the city moved west from the Missouri River. An urban setting replaced the natural places as the city grew, but certain places were recognized for their natural values and became havens for birds and the people that enjoyed watching them. These places became regular haunts for outings that through the years recorded details for a fine variety of birds. Notes from those eras indicate the habitats and birds present when conditions were remarkably different than modern times.

[Historic southwest Omaha additions]

One of the most prominent places in the early ornithology of Omaha was Elmwood Park, Beyond the end of Leavenworth street was a scene yet relatively wild, with a meandering creek named after settler, with the last name of Wood with a claim and shack on a tributary creek of the Little Papio. On the hill and vale along Wood Creek, was a set of substantial tracts with scenic beauty and an appreciated wild nature. In August 1889, a group of the neighboring land owners presented a bold idea to city officials. They would donate for a park fifty acres of pasture and woods along the creek, with its several flowing springs. A large group of men made a trip to view the place, and took along news reporters.

"The tract of land lies just three miles and a half west of the court house, and is about three-quarters of a mile west of Ruser's park. The strip lies on both sides of Leavenworth street, being a wooded ravine following the course of the small stream known as Patrick's run. ... The glen is a wild and romantic place, and could be transformed into a beautiful park. It has several springs and near the head of the ravine are a sufficient number to feed a lake.

"There are all manner of shady nooks in this dell, and some of the largest forest trees in this section of country are to be seen in it. There is also a great variety of trees, among which were noted ash, elm, hackberry, willow, walnut, box elder, plum, locust, oak and cottonwood," (August 20, 1889. Omaha Daily Bee).

The donation of the picturesque glen was accepted by the city and named Glendale Park. The park place was soon renamed Elmwood Park in a contest sponsored by Omaha park commissioners and The World-Herald in 1890. Additional property was purchased to enlarge the park to 215 acres in 1894. The place had "wide meadows, wild ravines, the creek and considerable high land," according to an account by a reporter that visited and described the park and its settings (June 10, 1894. Sunday World-Herald). There were two artesian springs that provided ample flows of fresh, underground water that made an attractive scene to Omaha residents. Wild residents also appreciated the setting and the place was renowned for its bird life. Its bird-lore was also unforgettable.

Further up the creek valley, was another local landmark. On a small tributary was the Happy Hollow tract owned by the Patrick Family. A portion of Patrick land was sold and became the site for the first construction of Dundee village, incorporated in 1894 and built upon the hills west of Omaha. The Patrick farm, known for its celebrations, was west of Dundee village along the creek in the Happy Hollow. About a mile west over the prominent hill was Wood creek. Other habitat lands were present. Residence construction was slow so the platted land often remained open for a time until housing completely replaced any open and green lands.

Elmwood was appreciated for the diverse wild songsters, and the area had other natural places attractive to birdlife. Open ground, including an airfield and the Little Papillion bottoms extended southwest from the southwest corner of the park. Some of the first bird records for the vicinity came from an outing of Sandy Griswold to hunt upland plover along the Little Papio in 1898. This place eventually was an auto track and an airfield.

The Patrick Farm house and buildings were sold for use as a private school in the early 1900s. The Happy Hollow Golf Club took over most of the tract to provide their golf links in 1907. Ak-Sar-Ben was built along the Little Papillion creek.

Elmwood Park was a favorite destination to outdoor enthusiasts, particularly birders. The celebrated Frank H. Shoemaker visited in July 1909 and kept a trip log in his personal notebooks. No doubt he was accompanied by other enthusiasts of birds in the neighborhood that had known how the place would provide a fine bird list for the day.

In 1911, the prominent ornithologist Dr. Solon R. Towne, and his two daughters Jessie M. and Mary A. watched birds at the north end of Happy Hollow and its little grassland creek. Their notes provided the birdlore to later write about the "bird neighbors." Species of interest included the tree sparrow, horned lark, marsh hawk at the golf course, chickadee, chat and robin (Nebraska Bird Review 4(1): 3-6). During May, a bird enthusiast at the newspaper reported a mockingbird being present for two weeks between Dodge and Davenport, and 49th and 50th streets (May 7, 1911. Omaha Sunday World-Herald). The anonymous author called the bird the "gay little Dundee troubadour."

Miles Greenleaf, of the south Dundee neighborhood, started regular bird writing in The World-Herald in 1914. His first feature stories were about bird life and lore from Elmwood Park, about a mile west of his 48th and Douglas homeplace. A January article provided details of eight species from a December 1913 park visit. In June, 33 songsters were recorded by an early summer bird party (June 7, 1914). His bird log of an outing had the species seen on a given date and place. The newsman provided a plethora of diverse notes and lore of birds in his bird editorials from 1916 to mid-1923.

Water habitat was present in the west portion of the area when George Lake was created in 1915 on Wood Creek, north of Underwood Avenue. It was named after C.C. George and J.E. George, the brothers that originally developed several residence additions in the area. The pond was known to attract a variety of "natural wild life" in its early years (June 1951, Dundee News).

In 1916, a group of teachers, led by Audubon Society representatives, noted 35 different species on a "showery jaunt" to Elmwood Park (April 30, 1916. Omaha Sunday World-Herald). The notable sighting of the day was a scarlet tanager.

In an article discussing the past years' enthusiasm by Omahan's on "behalf of the birds," the editorial writer also said most of the conservation work was in city parks (3 Dec 1916, Omaha Sunday World-Herald). The result was "dozens times more birds ... within the rustic parks." Then he proclaimed: "In Elmwood Park at present, with the rigors of winter hard at hand, the underbrush and clusters of trees are well populated with the hardy feathered high-brows who will spend the frigid season with us, and who know where there is food and protection and admiration."

The woods and parkland along Wood Creek was again given special recognition in a Sunday editorial (20 Jan 1918, Omaha Sunday-World-Herald): "Elmwood Park is recognized as one of the most densely populated bird havens in this territory, and yet two weeks ago today a couple of experienced bird students saw but three species within its confines - and only one of each as well. One chickadee, one Downy Woodpecker and one Golden-crowned Kinglet!" The rest of the writing was about the "bird with a golden crown ... a pretty little fellow."

Notations regarding nesting birds were not mentioned very often. In May 1919, Ovenbirds, with their distinct "Teacher! Teacher! Teacher!" were obvious at Elmwood (25 May 1919, Omaha Sunday World-Herald). Several were said to preparing to nest, which was said to be unusual. This is especially interesting because it indicates the apparent extent of habitat suitable for this species which prefers woods.

[Elmwood Park environs]

The rigors of winter weather did not stop the bird men from getting a birdlog. Being outdoors was often rewarded with a fine list for the day. Just after New Years day in 1920, for example, the Townsend's Solitaire, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Pine Siskin, Common Redpoll, Red Crossbill and White-winged Crossbill were at the park (11 Jan 1920, Omaha Sunday World-Herald).

Bird life at Elmwood Park continued to be described in newspaper reports. In a 1927 sporting column, Sandy Griswold described the findings by members of the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union for a New Year's census that recorded 11 species. In June 1931, Miles Greenleaf wrote about the 28 varieties of songbirds in the back-yard "ravine" a half-block south of Dodge Street in the 4800 block of Douglas street. In September, he wrote about keeping a bird log and used as an example a list from Trip No. 127 to Elmwood Park with Billy Marsh.

For 1934, the birders' excitement at the park was the new sanctuary. There was a pool and feeding mound (August 26, 1934. Omaha Sunday Bee-News). A large wooden observation building was provided. The structure burned down after six years.

Winter bird counts came into prominence in the mid-1930s, when various birders did a December survey and placed their findings in the Nebraska Bird Review. The details added a thorough look at winter bird populations throughout the Omaha area, and are important to the avifauna record base for the area.

A dramatic step for the history of birds of the local area in 1937. Miles Greenleaf initiated his Bird Lore column with stories of birds at the park, in the Dundee neighborhood and beyond on a myriad of topics. The weekly feature was always about birds but only occasionally presented a valid observation record. In December 1939, there was a brown thrasher at the bread crumbs thrown out by Miles Greenleaf at 4806 Douglas street, while a few other species appreciated a suet feeder and sunflower seeds (NBR 8(1): 27-28). There are a few other specific notes of occurrence for the early 1940s. The columns also note locales in Dundee place such as the black-billed magpie in 1940 at 46th and California and Izard streets.

A few other items in the neighborhood paper provide additional species information. Miss Alice von Bergen, a Dundee News reader, contributed the list of birds noted at George Lake (see Table One) (February 1943). There was a Red Knot present in the spring of 1943 (NBR 11(1): 20).

Table 1. Bird species noted May 1942 to spring 1943 at historic George Lake, Omaha. Other regular species were expected to occur in the area, according to Miles Greenleaf's Birds and the Outdoors column.

Blue-winged Teal
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Red Knot
Mourning Dove
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-headed Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Western Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Blue Jay
American Crow
Purple Martin
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
House Wren
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-White Warbler
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Chipping Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Throughout years of bird watching, there were continual changes to the habitat setting of the area. A native landscape had been replaced by agriculture fields. Land was purchased and plat plans were readied. The land was sculpted to fit a designer's view. House after house, localized business or industry, filled in addition after addition to create the residence district. Wildland settings on a small scale became managed parkland. Open creek meanders were replaced by storm sewers. The Happy Hollow links became the city-run Dundee Golf course, which became Memorial Park in 1946.

One of the last occurrence records from Miles Greenleaf was a summer's ring-necked pheasant in the yard at his home at 4806 Douglas street (26 Jul 1949, Dundee News). The writer kept appreciating the local bird life until his death in 1951.

George Lake was destroyed in the early 1950s, when houses of the Fairacres neighborhood were built. There are pictures of this former water landmark and its open land setting as the development encroached from the east (Bostwick Collection, Durham Western Heritage Museum). Wood Creek was altered during this era, with the upper reaches enclosed in a sewer line extending north from Underwood avenue.

After a dearth of bird records from the area for many years, there eventually was an article on white-winged crossbills in November 1969 at the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus (NBR 38(4): 88-89). Wood duck nesting in the neighborhood trees was reported at 52nd and Cass streets in June of 1971 (NBR 40(2): 46) and August 1973 on the 5100 block of Underwood Avenue (NBR 42(2): 38-39).

A special enthusiasm for birds at Elmwood Park started when on January 1, 1988 Clyde and Emma Johnson began to keep a written records of species. After moving to the nearby Masonic Manor at 52nd and Leavenworth, from 22nd and St. Mary's Avenue, the couple went on regular, often daily, bird walks, having previously birded at Fontenelle Forest and Hanscom Park. During their decades of bird watching, the only systematic list the couple has is for Elmwood Park.

The Johnson's drove the few blocks to Elmwood and maybe took up to two hours walking about, and watching and listening for birdlife. "Emma didn't know a pigeon from a meadowlark when we started," Clyde Johnson said. "Elmwood is a very good place to go birding. You can often see something interesting, especially in spring and fall." For each year they have a checklist of the birds seen. For unique records they record the date seen. They keep notes of any breeding activity. Visits were several days a week.

During the 2002 season, there was no water in the golf course pond on Wood Creek, so there was no suitable habitat for species such as the Blue-winged Teal, Mallard, American Coot, Rough-winged Swallow and Cliff Swallow, Johnson said.

Elmwood and Memorial parks continue to be interesting places to look for woodland birds. The primary feature providing the best habitat is Wood Creek that extends the entire length of Elmwood Park and along the west side of Memorial Park, to end at Underwood Avenue. A nice section for a bird hike is southward from that north end, across Dodge Street, into the deep ravine of northern Elmwood Park, onward for a good distance, then up and around the park entrance off Happy Hollow Boulevard, back into the woods to Shadow Lake, then past the contrived grotto for a once open spring along the creek, and southward along the trees bordering the creek. There are some upland meadow-in-the-making and reforestation areas that have been marked in recent years, and the plant growth and structure is providing further habitat diversity. In February 2003, the small golf course pond was deepened and refilled to provide that bit of open water habitat.

Happy Hollow Creek and its wooded strip occurs along the east side of Memorial Park and northward onto the Brownell-Talbot school grounds. Another green space in the area is the very small Little Elmwood Park with some trees and grass east of Happy Hollow Boulevard, surrounded by millions of dollars in Evanston addition houses.

Bird List

The first available bird record for the Elmwood Park area was in 1898 from a Sandy Griswold outing. Scattered records followed during 1909 to 1918 from various sources. Bird counts and neighborhood notes in the 1920s and 1930s provide additional information to develop a thorough bird list. Many of the historic records are from publications of the Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. In his bird column, Miles Greenleaf wrote lots about neighborhood birdlife during his tenure from 1937 to the early 1950s at the Dundee News, but the published material provides just about 300 distinct records.

Most of the recent bird records are from information kept by Clyde and Emma Johnson, neighborhood residents. Their checklists from 1988 to 2002 have more than 1200 bird records of occurrence for about 131 species.

There are 179 species known from the places of Wood Creek and the hills of Dundee, based on more than 2000 records of occurrence from neighborhood locales. This general summary was prepared using the specific details kept in my database of bird records in historic Nebraska. Detailed date and record source citations for each individual record are not given here since the list was originally prepared for use by neighborhood school children and the general public of Omaha, not as a complete documentation of every database record.

Family Anatidae

Snow Goose. Migratory flocks fly over the park; especially notable in the spring.

Canada Goose. Typically seen flying over the park, but rarely present foraging on the golf course grass.

Wood Duck. Arrive in late February to early March then remain to nest along the Elmwood Park creek; depart in October or early November. Young in three mid-1980s years: 51st street just south of Dodge; 49th and Farnam streets and then 49th street and California; the Humane Society moved ducklings the latter two years, according to neighborhood history. Birds apparently associated with yards with a large bird bath or small pond and bird feeding stations. Female with five ducklings on 8 May 2005 at Happy Hollow Creek, Memorial Park.

Mallard. In April or May at the water of the pond on the creek. Historically in 1914; and formerly at George Lake. Pools created by beavers have helped with providing suitable water at Elmwood.

Blue-winged Teal. In April in the water-pool at the Elmwood Park pond; formerly at George Lake.

Green-winged Teal. In 1914 at Elmwood Park.

Canvasback. March 1935 at historic George Lake.

Ring-necked Duck. In March 1996 at the waters of the Elmwood Park pond.

Lesser Scaup. In March 1934 at George Lake.

Common Goldeneye. During the winter of 1934-35 at George Lake.

Family Phasianidae

Ring-necked Pheasant. In April 1942 at 4800 block of Douglas street, with a hen in the garden at the Greenleaf home in July 1949; March 1997 near the pond in Elmwood Park.

Greater Prairie-Chicken. Historically present when the region was first settled; abundant at Omaha in the latter 1850s and still hunted when the Patrick farm was present.

Wild Turkey. Accidental in winter recently at Memorial Park.

Family Odontophoridae

Northern Bobwhite. Permanent resident in historic times and once raised covies of young on the prairie/woodland edge habitat. A bird in May 1940 at 52nd and Burt streets, with Miles Greenleaf recollections of coveys at 48th and Douglas streets about 1920; along Happy Hollow in 1931; and covey in August 1942 at west side of Dundee Golf Links.

Family Podicipedidae

Pied-billed Grebe. In April 1996 and 2000 at the golf links pond on Wood creek. Historically at George Lake.

American White Pelican. Small flocks migrate over the area in late autumn.

Family Phalacrocoracidae

Double-crested Cormorant. In late-April and early-May and September, flying over Elmwood Park. Small flocks migrate in the sky over the neighborhood.

Family Ardeidae

Great Blue Heron. Historically at George Lake; in June and August flying over Elmwood Park.

Great Egret. Flying over Elmwood Park in May 1993.

Green Heron. Near the pond and along the creek in Elmwood Park.

Family Cathartidae

Turkey Vulture. Usually seen soaring above the park; may occasionally roost overnight. Especially visible from Memorial park hill during migration periods.

Family Accipitridae

Bald Eagle. Flying over Elmwood Park in 1992 and a pair in courtship flight over Memorial park in early spring 1993.

Northern Harrier. Present during 1910-11 winter on the land-tract that is now Memorial park.

Sharp-shinned Hawk. Seen in the Elmwood and Memorial park woods during the winter.

Cooper's Hawk. During late winter and early spring in the Elmwood Park woods. In December 2002 after small birds in the neighborhood of 49th and Capitol Avenue.

Northern Goshawk. In March 1915.

Red-shouldered Hawk. In 1988 at the Elmwood Park woods.

Broad-winged Hawk. Noted in latter September during migration. Especially visible from the hilltop of Memorial park.

Red-tailed Hawk. Typical in spring and autumn and as a late summer vagrant. Migratory birds visible in the skies over the neighborhood.

Family Falconidae

American Kestrel. Occasional, usually in spring. Vagrant in late summer at open areas of the parks. Occasionally seen in autumn after prey such as sparrows and starlings in some business (i.e., Ready Mixed facility) and residential (i.e., 49th and Capitol Avenue) areas of the neighborhood.

Merlin. In 1993 along the creek at Elmwood.

Family Rallidae.

Virginia Rail. One seen by Billy Marsh and Miles Greenleaf on 25 Sep 1921 on 48th Street east of Holy Sepulcher cemetery.

American Coot. Seen in April 1990 and 1996 at the park pond.

Family Charadriidae.

Killdeer. In June at the park pond. Historically at George Lake.

Family Scolopacidae

Solitary Sandpiper. In 1942 at George Lake; noted several times at the park pond during the 1990s.

Willet. In 1942 at George Lake.

Spotted Sandpiper. Noted several times at the park pond wetland during the 1990s. Nested in June 1920 at Ak-Sar-Ben Flying Field.

Upland Sandpiper. Hunted on the Papio creek bottoms in late summer of 1899. Present during summer breeding season when open-country grassland habitat was historically available.

Red Knot. In May 1943 at George Lake wetlands.

Wilson's Snipe. Recorded in 1914 and November 1992. Prefers bottomland meadows, such as those historically present along the Little Papillion creek near where Ak-Sar-Ben was formerly located on Center Street.

Family Laridae

Franklin's Gull. At a crop-field about 48th and Leavenworth Streets in May 1915; also historically at George lake. Gulls fly over Elmwood Park during migration season.

Common Tern. At a crop-field about 48th and Leavenworth Streets in May 1915.

Black Tern. In 1942 at George lake.

Family Columbidae

Rock Pigeon. Permanent resident scattered around central Omaha, including houses in the neighborhoods. Resident in 2002 at the Ready Mixed Concrete facility at 46th and Capitol Avenue; 50th Street at Dodge, Underwood Avenue and Cuming Street; around Dundee Elementary School; by the United Central Presbyterian Church at 55th and Leavenworth Street and atop the Bond Bread building at 4469 Farnam Street. Also at on the cleaner's building at Saddle Creek Road and Cuming Street and the Radial Social Hall and former foods store at 1516 Northwest Radial Highway.

Mourning Dove. Regular resident that nests at parks and throughout the central Omaha neighborhoods; current and historical nesting. Small flocks can occur in early autumn.

Family Cuculidae

Black-billed Cuckoo. At Elmwood Park in July 1915 and late-spring 1935.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Arrive in latter May to nest in the thick growth of the woods along the creeks; depart about mid-September.

Family Tytonidae

Barn Owl. One shot and carcass found at Elmwood Park in January 1922.

Family Strigidae

Eastern Screech-Owl. In the historic and current eras from December to February at Elmwood Park, on 51st street south of Dodge Street, and once at Brownell school grounds. Breeding birds on Douglas between 48th and 49th in 1938. Breeds to a limited extent in tree cavities in the area. Pair and four young in late June 2003 at the 5100 block of Nicholas street.

Great Horned Owl. Seasonal resident in late-winter to early spring at the park woods. A pair raised young in 1973 and 1974 at 50th and Howard, when there were plenty of rodents, according to neighborhood history. Fledgling in early July 2003 at Happy Hollow creek in Memorial park.

Snowy Owl. In November 1922 at the Happy Hollow golf course.

Barred Owl. Occasionally seen in winter and mid-spring at Elmwood Park and breeds; a fledgling owl present in late June 2003 at Shadow lake.

Long-eared Owl. Hidden in the coniferous trees of winter, in December and February at Elmwood Park in the early 1930s.

Family Caprimulgidae

Common Nighthawk. Summer breeding resident. Often heard overhead foraging for insects, especially near buildings with flat, gravel roofs (i.e., 50th and Dodge, 50th and Underwood, 52nd and Leavenworth) where they may nest.


Chimney Swift. Summer resident, usually overhead at dusk foraging for insects. Breed in large chimneys of buildings; resident at 50th and Underwood Avenue, 4900 block of Dodge and United Central Presbyterian at 55nd and Leavenworth Street. Groups gather for the autumn migration above Memorial Park's grassy knoll and monuments at September's dusk.

Family Trochilidae

Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Rarely seen in late summer in the shrubby wood bottoms of the creek in Elmwood Park.

Family Alcedinidae

Belted Kingfisher. Occasionally forages along the creek or at the Elmwood Park pond. Inhabited a dirt bank from 1914-16 at Elmwood Park lake.

Family Picidae

Red-headed Woodpecker. Occasional resident in April to May and September to October.

Red-bellied Woodpecker. Regular resident through the year. A pair at a nest hole in a snag along the creek in May 2002, were driven off by starlings.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Present in winter season from late autumn to early spring.

Downy Woodpecker. Permanent resident that forages and nests in park and neighborhood trees.

Hairy Woodpecker. Regular resident from winter to early spring in the woods of Elmwood Park.

Northern Flicker. Permanent resident throughout the neighborhoods; nests in tree cavities.

Family Tyrannidae

Olive-sided Flycatcher. Occasional migrant in mid-spring and late summer.

Eastern Wood-Pewee. Nested historically and currently a regular summer resident.

Willow Flycatcher. Noted in May 1915.

Least Flycatcher. Summer breeding resident in the park.

Eastern Phoebe. Historically nested and currently a migrant at Elmwood Park.

Great Crested Flycatcher. Nested in 1915 and currently a regular seasonal migrant in the Elmwood Park woods.

Western Kingbird. Present in 1914 and nested in 1935. Vagrant at Holy Sepulchure Cemetery and north at Emile street and Saddle Creek Road in mid-June 2003.

Eastern Kingbird. Occasional migrant, especially in June and late summer. Would have historically nested.

Family Laniidae

Loggerhead Shrike. Present in March and August 1915, and nested 1915 through 1917.

Northern Shrike. One present in Elmwood Park in early January 1927.

Family Vireonidae

White-eyed Vireo. In May 1999 at Elmwood Park.

Bell's Vireo. In 1931 at 48th and Douglas streets area.

Yellow-throated Vireo. Once in May 1995.

Blue-headed Vireo. Regular May and September migrant.

Warbling Vireo. Noted historically and currently in May and June.

Red-eyed Vireo. Spring resident from late April through May; nested in 1915.

Family Corvidae

Blue Jay. Permanent resident that nests in trees throughout central Omaha.

Black-billed Magpie. Two eating thrown-about corn around 46th and 47th and California streets, and 47th and Izard streets in early October 1940.

American Crow. Permanent, common resident throughout the area; nests in suitable trees.

Family Alaudidae

Horned Lark. Migrant and historically nested in 1915 at Elmwood Park, in 1910 at the pasture-land of Happy Hollow; and raised young in 1915 at open ground of south Dundee Place.

Family Hirundinidae

Purple Martin. In 1931 skies over 48th and Douglas streets; in 1942 at George Lake.

Tree Swallow. In 1914 and 1916 at Elmwood Park; in 1942 at George Lake.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow. Migrant in May and June, foraging about water of the park pond.

Bank Swallow. In 1915 and 1935 at Elmwood Park.

Cliff Swallow. May and early June visitor.

Barn Swallow. Seasonal resident; nests at Elmwood Park and suitable places elsewhere, such as Dundee school.

Family Paridae

Black-capped Chickadee. Permanent resident that nests in the tree cavities throughout the area.

Tufted Titmouse. First Omaha record in mid-April 1918 at Elmwood Park. Seen in December 1932, November 1989 and 1991 in the woods at Elmwood Park.

Family Sittidae

Red-breasted Nuthatch. Seasonal resident from mid-September to early May.

White-breasted Nuthatch. Permanent resident heard in neighborhood and park trees. Expected to nest although no nesting record available.

Family Certhiidae

Brown Creeper. Resident from mid-December to early April; occasionally remain during the breeding season. Two nests produced young in recent years.

Family Troglodytidae

Carolina Wren. Historically in February 1931 along Happy Hollow creek. In early April and early September.

House Wren. Common breeding season resident in woody places throughout the neighborhood. Usually arrives by the first of May and departs about early October.

Winter Wren. Seen late November to early-February in the winter at Elmwood Park; especially at Shadow lake and near the old Botany Club springs.

Family Regulidae

Golden-crowned Kinglet. Late autumn to mid-spring visitor at Elmwood Park. Dates from latter October to mid-April.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Early autumn to mid-spring visitor at Elmwood Park. Dates from late October through April.

Family Sylviidae

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Migrant in April.

Family Turdidae

Eastern Bluebird. Nested historically but now only present as a May migrant.

Townsend's Solitaire. Two noted in early January 1920 at Elmwood Park.

Veery. May migrant historically and currently.

Gray-cheeked Thrush. Early to mid-May migrant.

Swainson's Thrush. Late-April to mid-May migrant.

Wood Thrush. Migrant in May; nested in 1915 at Elmwood Park.

American Robin. Common resident that breeds throughout the neighborhood. May be scarce in mid-winter.

Varied Thrush. Seen several times in a few day's period during latter April 1923 at Elmwood Park.

Family Mimidae

Gray Catbird. Arrive in mid-May each breeding season and nest in the shrubby undergrowth. Usually depart by the end of August. Nested historically.

Northern Mockingbird. Resident in 49-50th and Davenport-Dodge Streets area in late April to early May 1911.

Brown Thrasher. Arrive after mid-April for the breeding season and nest in the shrubby undergrowth of the parks. Usually depart by early autumn. A hearty bird may stay in winter weather. Historically nested also.

Family Sturnidae

European Starling. Permanent resident throughout central Omaha after their arrival in the state during the mid-1930s. No historic records known from the available bird information from the early 1930s.

Family Bombycillidae

Bohemian Waxwing. A dozen in November 1921 at Elmwood Park and other nearby wooded tracts.

Cedar Waxwing. Visitor mid-spring to mid-autumn; the Memorial Park trees with berries in the autumn are especially attractive.

Family Parulidae

Blue-winged Warbler. A single spring record.

Golden-winged Warbler. In 1991 and September 1997 in the trees at Elmwood Park.

Tennessee Warbler. Mid-May migrant in large trees of the park.

Orange-crowned Warbler. Spring and autumn migrant in wooded places.

Nashville Warbler. Late April and early May, and mid-September migrant.

Northern Parula. Seen once in May 1997.

Yellow Warbler. Arrive in early May to reside and nest along the creek in Elmwood Park. Nested historically.

Chestnut-sided Warbler. May migrant.

Magnolia Warbler. May migrant.

Yellow-rumped Warbler. Common migrant in April and latter October.

Black-throated Green Warbler. In April, May, August and September.

Blackburnian Warbler. Migrant during May.

Palm Warbler. In May 2000.

Blackpoll Warbler. May migrant.

Black-and-white Warbler. April, May, August and September migrant.

American Redstart. May and early June and late-August to mid-September migrant.

Prothonotary Warbler. Once in 1988.

Ovenbird. May migrant.

Northern Waterthrush. April and May migrant.

Mourning Warbler. Late May and early June migrant.

Common Yellowthroat. Arrive about mid-May. May possibly breed along the creeks?

Wilson's Warbler. May, August and early September migrant.

Canada Warbler. May migrant.

Yellow-breasted Chat. Once in May 1915.

Family Thraupidae

Scarlet Tanager. Late April to mid-May migrant.

Family Emberizidae

Spotted Towhee. Noted in January and April.

Eastern Towhee. Seasonal migrant, usually in the autumn. Nested historically in Elmwood Park. Formerly called the Rufous-sided Towhee, along with the Spotted Towhee.

American Tree Sparrow. Visitor from late October into February.

Chipping Sparrow. Arrive in April for a breeding season in among the pine trees.

Clay-colored Sparrow. Late April to mid-May visitor.

Field Sparrow. Migrant in April; historically nested in the park area when agricultural fields and pastures were part of the country.

Vesper Sparrow. In April 1916.

Lark Sparrow. In April 1915.

Savannah Sparrow. In April 1997.

Grasshopper Sparrow. In April 1915 and 1916 and spring 1989; formerly a summer breeding resident in historic grassland areas.

Fox Sparrow. Late October to mid-April migrant.

Song Sparrow. Late March to late April migrant. One January date.

Lincoln's Sparrow. Migrant in late March to mid-May; early October.

Swamp Sparrow. April migrant.

White-throated Sparrow. Arrives in latter autumn and typically present until late April, occasionally into mid-May.

Harris's Sparrow. Winter to mid-May resident.

White-crowned Sparrow. Winter resident and present until about mid-May.

Dark-eyed Junco. Winter to April resident.

Family Cardinalidae

Northern Cardinal. Permanent resident that nests in shrubby cover of the central Omaha neighborhoods.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak. May and early June and mid-September to mid-October migrant.

Lazuli Bunting. Once in May 1944.

Indigo Bunting. Mid-May to early June migrant.

Dickcissel. Historically in May 1914 and 1915 and August 1915 in Elmwood Park to Little Papillion creek area and probably would have nested in the area; in 1942 at George Lake.

Family Icteridae

Bobolink. In May 1915. Likely present in wet meadows once present along the Little Papillion creek.

Red-winged Blackbird. Present occasionally from late winter to early April, and late autumn. Historically at wetland habitat of George lake.

Eastern Meadowlark. Expected in July 1889 at Kruse's mill along Little Papillion creek; would have been present historically in wet meadows of the area.

Western Meadowlark. Historically present most of the year at former grassland areas.

Rusty Blackbird. Formerly at Lake George. April migrant at Elmwood Park vicinity.

Common Grackle. Arrive in late winter, usually by March and remain to nest; may remain through the winter.

Brown-headed Cowbird. Present by late April; placed eggs in nests of others species such as the towhee or yellow warbler that were breeding residents historically.

Orchard Oriole. May visitor. Would have once nested in the scattered trees of the country that is now Elmwood Park and Happy Hollow area.

Baltimore Oriole. Arrive early in May and nest each season in the wooded areas.

Family Fringillidae

Purple Finch. From late October through mid-May.

House Finch. Breeding season resident, noted in January, April and September; likely nests on the UNO campus and elsewhere. Not present historically.

Red Crossbill. December to mid-May resident. Nesting in Elmwood Park in April 1920.

White-winged Crossbill. Group of birds in 1915, and observed quite regularly from November 1969 to mid-March 1970.

Common Redpoll. Group in 1915 at Elmwood Park.

Pine Siskin. Resident from January to April, and December; nested in 1922 and 1933 at Elmwood Park.

American Goldfinch. Occurs throughout the year; may possibly nest in Elmwood Park.

Family Passeridae

House Sparrow. Permanent introduced resident, most prevalent around buildings and structures; nests in a variety of nooks and crannies. Small flocks gather in early autumn.

Pertinent References

Anonymous. 04/30/1916. Teachers Brave Rain to Go Bird Studying. Twenty-five Visit Elmwood Park, Led by Audubon Society Representatives. David Waterman Discovers Scarlet Tanager, First Seen There for Years. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 51(31): 1-N.

Anonymous: Miles Greenleaf and Billy Marsh. 02/11/1917. A Chickadee at Elmwood Appreciates a Convenient Larder. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 52(20): 1-M, 3-M. Includes two pictures of a chickadee at the suet feeder.

Bee writer. 08/26/1934. Birds of 33 Species Flock to Sanctuary in Elmwood Park. Attracted by New Pool and Feeding Mound. Six-Foot Wire Fence to Keep Out Animals - Observation Building Already in Use. Omaha Sunday Bee-News 64(11): 6-A. Includes three pictures of the features.

Ducey, James E. 04/08/2003. Birds of Elmwood Park, Happy Hollow and the Hills of Dundee. In: Chronicles of Wood Creek, Happy Hollow and the Hills of Dundee. Pages 96-103. Published by the Central Omaha Action League, April 2003.

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. 12/08/1918. Saving Nature's Wonders [Elmwood Park Work]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 54(10): 8-E. A bird editorial.

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. 02/11/1917. Disconsolate Visitors [Robins at Elmwood and Bluebirds]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 52(20): 4-E. A bird editorial.

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. 04/16/1916. Waxwings [Migratory Songsters at Elmwood Park]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 51(29): 4-E. A bird editorial.

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. 03/02/1919. Sharpening the Ax [Tree Removal at Elmwood Park]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 54(22): 6-E. A bird editorial.

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. 02/20/1916. Screech Owl Scandal [Elmwood Park]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 51(21): 4-E. A bird editorial.

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. 01/20/1918. The Crown of Gold [Golden-crowned Kinglet at Elmwood Park]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 53(16): 4-E. A bird editorial.

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. 01/28/1923. Bird's Noses [Crows and Elmwood Park Feeding Stations]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 58(18): 6-E. A bird editorial.

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. 11/28/1920. The Elmwood Shrike Returns. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 56(9): 10-E. A bird editorial.

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. 04/29/1917. Ruthless Warfare in Birdland [Sharp-shinned Hawk in Elmwood Ravine]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 52(31): 4-E. A bird editorial.

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. 03/04/1923. Purity [First Bluebird at Elmwood]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 58(23): 8-E. A bird editorial.

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. 01/04/1920. A New Visitor [Townsend Solitaire at Elmwood Park]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 55(14): 8-E. A bird editorial.

Greenleaf, Miles. 12/10/1940. Elmwood Sanctuary Bird Study "Blind" Destroyed by Fire. Dundee News 5(51): 1, 11.

Greenleaf, Miles. 10/11/1931. Bird Lore: [Winter Birds in Elmwood Park Area]. Omaha Sunday Bee-News 61(17): 4-B. Includes one picture.

Greenleaf, Miles. 01/17/1932. Bird Lore: [Winter Wren, Another Winter Stranger at Elmwood Park and Nesting Season Close at Ak-Sar-Ben]. Omaha Sunday Bee-News 61(31): 10-A.

Greenleaf, Miles. 11/29/1931. Bird Lore: [Redpoll at Elmwood Park and Winter Birds Near Ak-Sar-Ben]. Omaha Sunday Bee-News 61(24): 9-A.

Greenleaf, Miles. 05/31/1931. Bird Lore: [Field Sparrow and Towhee Nesting at Elmwood Park]. Omaha Sunday Bee-News 60(50): 7-C. Includes two pictures of nests, one at Elmwood Golf Course.

Greenleaf, Miles. 08/08/1915. Feats of Feathered Genius in the Wilds of Elmwood. Odd Habits of the Shiftless Cowbird, the Defense of a Bird Home Against the Squirrel, and the Ubiquity of the Horned Lark about Omaha. Did You Ever Find a Wood Pewee's Nest? Omaha Sunday World-Herald 50(45): 1-M. Includes five pictures of nests and four examples of mounted birds.

Greenleaf, Miles. 08/04/1918. Odd Feature of Birdland at Beautiful Elmwood. Where the Cowbird Invaded a Chewink's Home. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 53(44): 3-M. Includes a picture of a nest, and a picture of a towhee mount and a cow bird mount.

Griswold, Sandy, Mary Hillsworth, Emma Hillsworth, C.A. Mitchell and L.O. Horsky. 01/09/1927. New Year's Bird Census [at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Elmwood Park and Fontenelle Forest Reserve]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 62(15): 4-S. Leaves from the Notebook of an Old Nature Student.