Nebraska Trifecta & More (Day 4)

May 27th, 2017 No comments

If you missed Days 1 – 3 of this series, you can catch up here (NE Day 1, NE Day 2, and NE Day 3).

I suppose you could subtitle this blog “wandering around Kearney and Gibbon” because that is pretty much what we did. It was not exactly a rest day but it was a day betwixt and between that was not filled with miles we had to travel to get from one place to the next and there were no reservations or appointments we had to keep.

There were a few places we wanted to visit along the river which seemed to be a hotspot for state recreation areas and wildlife management areas (WMA’s). Since I wasn’t really sure about the dates for hunting season in Nebraska and WMA’s are usually more rustic in terms of access roads, we elected to check out the SRAs and do a little more birding around Rowe Sanctuary.

First stop of the day? We had previously noted the large ponds/impounds out back of the hotel and decided to check them out. The site looked like a sand dredging complex with a look of industrial activities – lots of trucks and gated roads. It didn’t hurt that we had seen large flocks of Snow Geese from the window of our room and it seemed only right that we check out these birds on our way out this morning.

So, we headed out back, through a parking lot, down an access road, past the hockey arena and over towards the ponds and the geese. We were not disappointed. There was a large flock of Snow Geese interspersed with Canada Geese, a scattering of Red-Winged Blackbirds, and a few Killdeer. The highlight was getting close looks at several grey or blue morph Snow Geese. Not bad birding and a good start for the day. You just never know where a birding hotspot is going to be. Birds are sometimes in the most unlikely of places and not always in the preserves and refuges where you would expect them to be….although what goose can resist a good pond in the morning?

Then it was back onto Interstate 80 and heading up to Gibbon. You may recall that Gibbon is where Rowe Sanctuary is located – well, close to Gibbon since it is rare to find a wildlife sanctuary inside a town. As you can imagine, we never really saw Gibbon and I’m not sure it was more than just a small country community. But we did spend some time at a few places outside the town.

Our first stop was…well, second after the ponds beside the hockey arena….. Windmill State Recreation Area (SRA).

According to the guides and the parks website, Windmill SRA was supposed to have something like eighteen (18) old windmills that have been restored to working order and on display in the park.  This sounded like something I wanted to see and Jerry was good with it. After all, what red-blooded male doesn’t want to see oversized mechanical things whirling and clacking and grinding away at something?  Otherwise, the park provides camping facilities and walking paths and recreational facilities along a string of lakes that are located right alongside Interstate 80.

The site was originally known as Windmill Crossing and was the location that the Pawnee Indians used to ford the river on their annual buffalo hunts.  I’m not sure why the Pawnee Indians would name a river crossing after a windmill since I’m not sure they were known for using windmills….so I suspect the name came later from the area’s use as a stopover for pioneers moving along the Mormon or Oregon Trails. Perhaps, a windmill had been erected to pump fresh water from one of the lakes. Who knows? All right – maybe the Pawnee were big on windmills.

At any rate, the oldest windmill was supposed to be an 1880 Standard that was moved down from Fleming, Colorado where it had previously been used to pump water for steam locomotives.  Since we only found two (2) windmills in the park (how can you miss something as big as a windmill?) and I have no idea which is the Standard model, I will post the photos and you can decide for yourself.

Overall, the park was a nice one and the lakes still had a few Scaups that had not yet migrated north. Our most exciting bird encounter involved the Sandhill Cranes. The guides at Rowe had told us that the warm sunny weather predicted for the next few days would be ideal for the Cranes to start the next phase of their migration. We had been advised to watch for the birds kettling using the northwest winds to aid them on their journey. For those who are not familiar with the term “kettling”, it is a term for the activity some birds do whereby they fly in a circular motion in large groups moving ever higher into the sky allowing them to catch the thermal updrafts and save energy as they prepare for migration.

Per the explanation for a kettle at Wikipedia, the term may be derived from a location near Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania called “the Kettle” or “der Kessel” in Pennsylvania Dutch where hawks, eagles and other raptors are known for such behavior. Others say that the term comes from the idea that the birds flying in a circle gives the appearance of being in a pot of boiling water…or, in this case,  a swirling vortex of warm air.  At any rate, we were thrilled to see hundreds, if not thousands, of Sandhill Cranes kettling overhead just as we drove into the park. It was beautiful….we stopped right there in the road (hey, it’s a park and there was no one about), jumped out of the car and stood there for at least 30 minutes totally amazed at the spectacle. The birds had started low and flew higher and higher until they were totally lost in the vastness of the beautiful blue sky. We wished them well on their journey and then continued on our own journey.

Besides the Cranes and the aforementioned Scaups, there were Red-Winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, a Collared Dove, a couple Canada Geese, two beautiful Northern Flickers, and the ever plentiful American Robins.  We had not gone anywhere in Nebraska that we did not see lots of Robins….they were literally everywhere. After a couple days, we started to get a little concerned if we didn’t see a mess of robins at every place we stopped.

After exploring the SRA, we headed outside the gates to Fat Jack’s or something like that where we took a much needed bathroom break, got gas for the car, and found, to my delight, freshly popped popcorn for sale. Of course, I got a big bag…who wouldn’t?

Then it was over the Interstate and back to Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary where we bought the T-Shirt as one must when one travels to new places. How else do you say that you’ve been there and done that if you do not buy the T-shirt…or other such trinkets? We chatted with the volunteers there who gave us all the scoop on the joys of volunteering at the site and how we should volunteer should be ever be looking for something to do in March and April in some future year. While there is no pay for the job, the Sanctuary does provide lodging for the volunteers during the time they volunteer each season. Although it is pretty cold in Nebraska in March, it might not be a bad deal to consider going on a “Crane” holiday one year in the future.

Although portions of the Sanctuary were closed during the Crane migration and hiking was limited, we had noticed a road (dirt, of course) running past the Visitor Center and off into the countryside through parts of the Sanctuary so decided to explore it. After all, we’re the meandering kind and there’s nothing lovelier for birding than a good dirt road on a warm sunny day. We were rewarded right off the bat when we discovered lots of fields filled with lots of Sandhill Cranes. Then there was a great farmer’s pond with Blue-Winged Teals and Ruddy Ducks. And, if you have a pond and field with birds, you’re gonna see a Hawk or two doing a little hunting.

Roaming on down the road, we were totally delighted to find a Ring-Necked Pheasant strutting across the field obviously trying to catch the attention of some female we could not see. As we came to a bend in the road, we spotted a Western Meadowlark perched on the “curve” sign singing his heart out….just a lovely day altogether.

Towards the far backside of the Sanctuary property, there is a small creek that empties into the river that attracts waterfowl and cranes. A vehicle pull-off with a blind has been built there by the road that makes a great spot for watching the birds on and around the water. Why hadn’t the staff at the Visitor Center mentioned this great spot?

It was marvelous and we spent a little time there before moving on down the road…..and more road and more road…all of it dirt.

Bird sightings dwindled so I entered the next SRA into the GPS and we were on our way to Fort Kearney SRA which turned out to be a nice camping area with a few small ponds and a good biking trail but not too many birds (of course, it could be the time of day – afternoon – was not really good for birding)…but there were plenty of robins, if nothing else.

Next stop – Fort Kearney Historical Park which was really small and just about what you’d expect – a good park but devoted more to historical events in the area than birding. There was a small museum there but we opted not to check it out. It was late and we were hungry so we headed back to the hotel…which turned out to be just a few miles away. Turns out we had circled back around from the Gibbon area to Kearney in our meandering along the back roads. We got lunch, took a quick break, and headed to our third – maybe fourth – stop of the day.

The Great Platte River Road Archway is a large museum spanning Interstate 80 which commemorates the movement of the pioneers along the various trails (Mormon, California, Oregon, etc.) and the building of the Lincoln Highway (Route 30/Interstate 80) across the west. For those who like such things – the Archway weighs 1,500 tons, spans 308 feet across the highway, includes about 79K square feet, sits 30 feet above the roadway, includes 24 mannequins based on the faces of real people, covers about 170 years of history, and cost about $60M to build. Besides us, other noteworthy VIP’s who have visited the museum include President Bill Clinton who visited in December 2000.

The museum had been recommended to us as a neat place to visit and very interesting….not that the fact that it spanned the highway wasn’t incentive enough…so we decided to give it a go. The museum was not crowded on this afternoon….well, I think we might actually have been the only visitors at the moment we entered the building although there were some folks looking around outside. Since I’m not crazy about crowds, it was ideal.

We were met at the door by docents dressed in pioneer costumes and pointed to the ticket window to get tickets and listening aids for the programmed guided tour and then we headed up the escalator and started the tour.

It was an interesting tour and museum in that it wasn’t your typical museum with loads of artifacts and antiques to see and learn about. Rather, it was more experiential in that displays were set up like dioramas. You clicked on the display number on your listening device and the speaker would explain the display to you. It was time-consuming and took way more time that I thought was needed but we did learn quite a bit about the early pioneers and travelers along the trails and the Lincoln Highway.

Let me take a moment and give one story that goes along with the photo I’ve included showing a statue of two children speeding off on a horse. It seems that these two young boys, the Martin Brothers, are very well known in the history of the area.  In the Indian uprising in 1864, George Martin and his two sons were working in the fields loading hay when they were attacked by a band of Sioux Indians. As the father tried to fight off the Indians, the two boys jumped on a horse, riding double, and headed home. As the boys fled the scene, one of the Indians fired an arrow at them. The arrow passed through Nat’s body and lodged in Robert’s back….knocking both boys off the horse. The Indian, thinking they were pretty much dead, did not bother to check further and so, fortunately, did not scalp them.  Both boys survived although Robert never recovered from the back injury. Per the reports, Nat lived to tell the story of his escape to his grandchildren.

After the museum, it was nap time at the hotel. What else?

Before supper, we did a little birding in a neighborhood near the hotel. Grandpa’s Steak House, sadly, is no longer in business but it lives forever as a hotspot on eBird and it warranted our checking it out.  There was a small lake behind the former restaurant which explains the eBird connection. It would have (and probably still does) attracted waterfowl during the winter. We did spot Snow and Canada Geese there along with a Collared Dove or two and a couple of House Sparrows that have made a nice nest behind one of the large white letters on the building’s façade. We rode through the neighborhood by the lake, spotted a few Northern Shovelers, and then encountered a Wild Turkey strutting through the neighborhood as we drove out through the community gate.

Afterthought: A few things we have discovered that Nebraska doesn’t have so far –

Vultures – we have not spotted a single vulture, neither black nor turkey since we arrived in the state. So who cleans up roadkill?
Crows – maybe we’ve seen two…..all those corn fields and no crows?
Osprey – the guide at Rowe Sanctuary said he had never heard of Ospreys when we asked about the birds.
And, of course, no Canada Dry Ginger Ale as I mentioned in a previous blog in this series.

Itinerary:

April 3 – Baltimore, MD to Omaha, NE (via Minneapolis, MN): 1153 Miles
April 4 – Omaha to Grand Island (via Route 30): 160 Miles
April 5 – Grand Island to Kearney (via Interstate 80): 49 Miles
April 6 – Meandering around Kearney and Gibbon (Interstate 80 and the Back Roads)

Sites Visited Thus Far:

ADM Grain Company Driveway (Day 2)
Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary (D3 & D4)
Crane Trust (D3)
Eagle Scout Park (D3)
Fort Kearney Historical Park (D4)
Fort Kearney State Recreation Area (SRA) (D4)
Freemont State Recreation Area (SRA) (D2)
Grandpa’s Steak House (D4)
Great Platte River Road Archway (D4)
Higgins Memorial (D2)
Mormon Island State Recreation Area (SRA) (D3)
Townsley-Murdock Trail Site (D2)
Windmill State Recreation Area (D4)

Birds Spotted On The Trip Thus Far – Total Species Identified – 42:

 

Nebraska Trifecta & More – Day 3

May 10th, 2017 2 comments

If you missed Days 1 & 2 of this series, you can catch up here (NE Day 1 and NE Day 2).

In planning our trip to Nebraska, I had scoured the AAA guide and another guide I had bought about out-of-the-way sights everyone should see and I had gone through the National Geographic Road Atlas  Adventure Edition and a Nebraska Atlas….and then there’s Google and Bing Maps online, not to mention checking eBird for birding hotspots in the state. This process can take several weeks as I check for parks, preserves, and wildlife refuges. Of course, the first priority was seeing the Sandhill Cranes and so that’s where I started – Google Nebraska and Sandhill Cranes and you will find Rowe Sanctuary very quickly. So that was ground zero so to speak but there would be lots of ground to cover in getting there and I wanted to take every opportunity possible to see what birds and attractions we could see along the way.

So, with all that checking and searching and listing and figuring, I had come up with twelve places I absolutely wanted to see and eleven more places that I categorized as “maybe, if there’s time”.  So far, I’d seen two sites from the “maybe” list – the Townsley Murdock Trail site and the Higgins Memorial – and one site from the “definitely” list – Freemont State Recreation Area (SRA). But, now it was time to get busy on the “definitely” list and the “where the cranes are” places on the maps. And the fifty mile area from Grand Island to Kearney (kar-nee) was supposed to be it – Crane city all the way and we were ready to see some Cranes.

I suppose I thought that there would be Cranes everywhere. After all, what do you do with half a million birds that are about 5 foot tall and trying to bulk up for a long flight to their Arctic breeding grounds? I’m thinking you’d see those birds everywhere….but, so far, on this trip we hadn’t seen a one. We’d driven more than 160 miles into Nebraska, crossed plains and rivers and hadn’t spotted a single Crane. Being the worrier that I am, I began to wonder if I had dragged my long-suffering husband all the way to mid-America on a wild goose – errrr, Crane – chase.  I fretted that the warm weather had encouraged the Cranes to head on up north and they had all departed maybe a day or so before we got there. If you have followed my bird chasing in the past, you might have noticed a trend – I seem to have a habit of being a day late and a dollar short on these things. Hadn’t I driven all the way to Flamingo Point in the Everglades only to find no flamingos?  And, then hadn’t we driven all the way around Yellowstone Park to discover that there is no fishing allowed at Fishing Bridge?  Now, had I arrived in Nebraska only to find that there were no longer any Sandhill Cranes on the South Platte River????

So, it was with some excitement and some trepidation that we headed out from Grand Island to start seriously looking for Cranes…..and I had a plan, of course….always got a plan whether it works or not. My “definitely” list included three sites to see in and around Grand Island before heading on down towards Kearney. I had eliminated one location – the Coney Island Café – when we arrived. While the internet site shows a photo of a snazzy café from the 1950’s era, the actual café was a very nondescript place in a strip of shops downtown and the reviews weren’t so good for the food so I decided it wasn’t worth backtracking into downtown just for lunch. There was also a very important site nearby at Wood River – Crane Environmental Trust & Visitor Center (also known as Crane Meadows).  So, day 3 would be an exploration of these sites around Grand Island. If time permitted, we might also take a look at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer. Most important to the day’s activities would be getting to Rowe Sanctuary by 6:00 PM where we had reservations for the evening viewing of the Cranes…..if there were any left in Nebraska.

But first, we pause for our second GPS glitch of the trip! We entered the address for Mormon Island in the GPS – 7425 US 281 – and we were on our way.  What I didn’t enter was “south” US 281 so the GPS took us on a path to the north. We started thinking we might be going away from the Interstate and we knew that the park was near the Interstate….but then the GPS informed us that we were nearing our destination and, looking around, we saw farms and cattle ranches but no park and no river.  Using Google Maps on my phone (my trusty backup), we turned around and headed south again. But all was not in vain, on the way to US 281, we found Eagle Scout Park and some pretty good birds – Snow Geese, Canada Geese, Collared Doves, more Red-Winged Blackbirds, and, of course, American Robins.

First planned stop – Mormon Island State Recreation Area.  

The site where the park is located was formerly a stopping point on the Mormon Trail used by Mormons (Church of the Latter Day Saints) on their way from Navoo, Illinois to the Great Salt Lake Valley. In the 1800’s, the Mormons were seemingly constantly on the move trying to find a place to set up their stronghold without persecution.

The Mormon Trail which is about 1300 miles long is now the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail and ran roughly along the same route as the Oregon and California Trails. The Mormons chose to travel along the north side of the Platte River to avoid conflict with travelers on the Oregon Trail just to the south.

Today there is little at the park of the Mormons or the trail except for the name. There also isn’t really an island. The park sits right along Interstate 80 and just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Platte River (after you cross the Interstate, of course). It is a lovely park with several small lakes (the island effect?) and offers hiking, camping, fishing, and some boating on the lakes).

For us, it was about the birding.  We saw good birds there but most would be instantly recognizable to birders back home. The Eurasian Collared Dove is one bird that seemed to be settling in nicely in the west but is still quite the rarity back east. There were also some ducks and Scaups that lingered on the lakes and had not yet started their northern migration. There were quite a few Red-Winged Blackbirds and, you guessed it, plenty of Robins.

After an hour or so birding the park and just looking around, we headed down to Wood River and the Crane Trust.

Crane Environmental Trust Visitors Center

I’d like to say we saw thousands of Sandhill Cranes at the Crane Environmental Trust…but we didn’t. We took the Interstate (80…since it is the only Interstate in Nebraska and from this point westward parallels the Lincoln Highway, US 30) and we did see maybe 100 Cranes flying over right at the exit for Wood River. We followed their flight to a field along the road and stopped to try to get a good look and grab some photos but the birds landed in a farmer’s field that we could not easily (and probably legally) get to so, with our hopes high we headed on over to the Crane Trust Visitor’s Center. Imagine our dismay when the volunteer at the center informed us that the Cranes had already left the area. In fact, she was surprised that we had seen the birds along the highway. She advised us to take back roads in a westerly direction towards Kearney and check out farmer’s fields if we wanted to see Cranes.

In the meantime, we checked out the Visitor’s Center, which was very nice and had some very good displays. We saw a Snow Goose and a Ross’s Goose in the display area that helped to confirm my tentative identification of a pair of Geese we had seen at Eagle Scout Park as Ross’s Geese. The center also had a nice hiking path and a bridge across the river that looked pretty inviting so we got binoculars and cameras and headed out on the trail. We had noticed that the western sky looked gray and cloudy but I decided (against Jerry’s good advice) that we had plenty of time to hike a mile or so and see what birds we might find on the preserve that might be interesting. You never know, we might find a stray Crane or a life bird or two. Who knew?

Well, we got about a half mile down the path and just over the bridge when it started raining, of course, and we quickly headed back to the Center….but not quite quickly enough. We had only taken a few steps on our way back when the rain turned to sleet or hail and then both. Oh my! We were stung and pounded for five minutes or so and then it was icy cold rain again. We had picked up our pace considerably and were soon back under the shelter of the back deck at the Visitor’s Center….and then the rain stopped and the sun came out beautifully. Right! We gave the sky another look – more gray clouds to the west – and turned away from the trail and headed on back to the car and decided to drive west along those backroads that the nice volunteer had mentioned.

We meandered along the back roads through farm country for an hour or so without seeing much so we took a turn to the right at the first road we came to (not many choices) that headed back north to the Interstate. Once on the Interstate, we headed west to Kearney. We had decided to find our hotel for the next two nights and rest a bit before heading up to Rowe Sanctuary. And, what do you suppose we found all along the Interstate where stopping to look is not such a good idea when the speed limit is 75? You guessed it, Sandhill Cranes….everywhere in the fields along the north side of the highway.  Although we couldn’t exactly stop and spend time admiring the big birds, it was a relief to me (Jerry always knew they’d be there) to know that the Cranes had not yet departed on the rest of their migration.

And now it is time for GPS glitch number 3. It was another south-north issue with Route 10 that runs straight through Kearney. Our hotel was the Holiday Inn Express on the south side of town and on the other side of the Interstate but the GPS took us to the address on the north side and we found ourselves at Taco John’s with no hotel in sight.  Now, I have to ask myself why cities and postal authorities use the same address number for two sites on different sides of a highway when in actuality the two sites are less than two miles from each other. Seriously?  I’m not sure the GPS is at fault here.

Well, at any rate, there was a very large Holiday Inn with a huge convention center about a mile from the wrong address so we stopped in and asked about the Holiday Inn Express which was just a little over spitting distance down the road. While we were there, we asked how a small town like Kearney could support so many hotels and a Convention Center no less. Well, there’s a rather simple explanation. Remember in Day 2 that I wrote about the Lincoln Highway running from NYC to San Francisco?  It turns out that Kearney, Nebraska is just about halfway to San Francisco so in the early days of the highway, Kearney became a big check point for people traveling on the highway.  But that still doesn’t really explain why there are so many hotels there today. Then again, it does. If you are a large corporation with offices all across the US and you’re looking for a spot about halfway to have those corporate wide meetings and retreats, then Kearney is the place for you. Now, I’m not saying that there’s a lots to do around Kearney but it is just about halfway across America.  (Per Google, the actual median is just a few more miles west at an even smaller town called Cozad. It seems Kearney is about halfway if you’re measuring “train” miles which were what was being measured back at the turn of the century when someone decided Kearney was the halfway point.)

At last, we found the hotel, checked in and, after a couple hours resting and a light supper, we headed out to make our appointment at the Sanctuary.

Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary.

It was just about an hour before dusk when we checked in at the Sanctuary which sits right on the South Platte River. The only people allowed into the Sanctuary in the evenings are those who have reservations. We gathered with the others in the visitor’s center for a short video about the Sanctuary and the Cranes and an overview of what we should expect and how we should behave – no talking above a whisper on the trail or in the blinds, no repeat-clicks on our cameras, phones muted, photographs only when the guides allowed, no flashlights other than the red filtered ones used by the guides, no noise whatsoever, etc.  The photographers who had paid for the special full night viewing (really?) set out first and headed to their blind. Then a smaller family group left and everyone remaining formed the largest group that included us. With some excitement, we headed out to the blind. We had about a half mile walk and were soon quietly settled at our spots in the blind. After a bit of shuffling for the best views (I went for the sunset view), we were all accommodated and the wait began. At this point, the river was quiet and there really wasn’t much going on so we waited….and we waited…and we watched the sun slowly start sinking down towards the river. After about 20 minutes of waiting, most everyone left their viewing spots unguarded and decided to wait on the benches provide. I sat while Jerry guarded our spot….he’s good like that.

While we waited, we birded – there was a great kingfisher and some Canada Geese and a few birds here and there. Then we were wowed by a Bald Eagle swooping in and then a Northern Harrier. Everybody and every predator was there waiting for the birds to come on down to the river.

And then they came. At first, there was just a few Cranes and then a few more and then a few flocks and then more and then hundreds and then thousands. Where had they all been when we were out riding down dusty dirt roads this afternoon? Oh yeah…over by the Interstate.

The birds just kept coming. The guide told us that probably about half of the Cranes had already departed north on their migration so there were maybe about a quarter of a million left in Nebraska. During the day, they scattered to the countryside to graze on the leftover grains and corn in the fields but at night, they all gathered together for protection on the river. And the Platte River was just perfect for this. It is a wide river – some say “a mile wide and an inch deep” – and it is very shallow with hundreds of tiny sandbars where the Cranes come to roost for the night.  Because of the sandbars, the river is said to be “braided” running here and there around these sandy islands….like many of the rivers in Nebraska.

As the Cranes came in, they started to land on the sandbars, first one and then another and by the time we lost all light, the islands were covered with birds all settling in and preening and chattering among themselves. The sounds of the birds talking and calling out to each other had been overwhelming at points. The whole scene was just breathtakingly beautiful. The sounds of the Cranes chattering followed us as we quietly stowed our cameras, left the blind and headed back to the visitor center. We had been amazed and awed by this show….a show that had been occurring annually every year since the dawn of time…. a marvelous display of one of God’s wonderful creations!

We headed back to the hotel – mission accomplished and then some.

(The cost for viewing the Cranes at the Sanctuary is $20 per person and reservations have to be made well in advance….we had made our reservations way back in early January….best $40 I’ve spent in quite some time!)

Itinerary:

April 3 – Baltimore, MD to Omaha, NE (via Minneapolis, MN): 1153 Miles

April 4 – Omaha to Grand Island (via Route 30): 160 Miles

April 5 – Grand Island to Kearney (via Interstate 80): 49 Miles

Sites Visited Thus Far:

ADM Grain Company Driveway (Day 2)

Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary (D3)

Crane Trust (D3)

Eagle Scout Park (D3)

Freemont State Recreation Area (SRA) (D2)

Higgins Memorial (D2)

Mormon Island State Recreation Area (SRA) (D3)

Townsley-Murdock Trail Site (D2)

Birds Spotted On The Trip Thus Far – Total Species Identified – 36:

American Bald Eagle         American Coot                      American Crow

American Goldfinch         American Kestrel                   American Robin

Belted Kingfisher            Canada Goose                           Common Grackle

Dark-Eyed Junco            Double-Crested Cormorant   Eurasian Collared Dove

European Starling          Feral Pigeon                              House Finch

House Sparrow               Killdeer                                       Lesser Yellowlegs

Mallard                             Mourning Dove                         Northern Cardinal

Northern Harrier            Northern Shoveler                   Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Winged Blackbird  Ring-Billed Gull                       Ross’s Goose 

Ruddy Duck                     Sandhill Crane                         Scaup, Lesser & Greater

Snow Goose                     Song Sparrow                           Tree Swallow  

Wild Turkey                     Wood Duck

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