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Birding in October

October is when some waterfowl start to migrate through as well as a variety of sparrows: such as Harris’s, White-crowned, White-throated, LeConte’s, Clay-colored, Nelson’s, Fox, Lincoln’s, Spotted Towhees and Dark-eyed Juncos.

In both September and October there also are a wide variety of raptors migrating. So if you are out birding don’t forget to look up (raptors are silent when they are migrating). You could see Sharp-shinned, Broad-winged, and Swainson’s Hawks, Mississippi Kites, Northern Harriers to name a few. And remember there is a Hawkwatch at Hitchcock Nature Center counting migrating raptors through both of these months and on until December.

Birding in September

SEPTEMBER – Late summer into fall is a very exciting time of the year to go out looking for birds. It is the time of the year for migration, just as spring is. One difference is that the migrants passing through in the fall aren’t as vocal as the spring migrants are, and a second difference is that a number of the fall migrants may have less colorful plumages.

Late August and through much of September there are many passerine species passing through eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. Examples are any number of warblers, vireos, tanagers, and fly catcher species. There also will be waders, some prairie/meadow species such as Bobolinks, herons, bitterns, and hummingbirds passing through. You may be able to spot a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker also during this time period.

Local places to look for migrant passerines are Fontenelle Forest (Sarpy County), Platte River and Mahoney State Parks (Cass County), Two Rivers State Park (Douglas County), Arbor Lodge (Otoe County), Wilderness Park (Lancaster County) and the Memphis SRA (Saunders County).

Fall can also be a good time to observe shorebirds as well. Early in the fall season you will see mostly adults of the various species followed later by the juveniles. Locations to observe shorebirds can vary from year to year. They can usually be found on mudflats where a lake or pond has receded from the shoreline, or in standing water in fields if there has been sufficient precipitation.

"Climate change has been a feature of Earth's entire history, and has been both rapid and large in the past. But the climate change occurring now will make the climate warmer than in millions of years, and be beyond what many species have experienced," says Roland Jansson.