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Bird Checklists of the United States

North Platte National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Scottsbluff, Nebraska


North Platte National Wildlife Refuge, containing 5047 acres, lies in the Panhandle of western Nebraska. Established in 1916, the refuge is superimposed over four Water and Power Resources Service irrigation reservoirs (Lake Minatare, Lake Winters Creek, Little Lake Alice, Lake Alice) north of Minatare, Nebraska. The reservoirs are managed by the Pathfinder Irrigation District and public use around Lake Minatare is administered by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission through the Lake Minatare State Recreation area. The entire refuge area (with the exception of some recreation cabin areas) is closed to the public from October 1 through January 15 to provide sanctuary for up to 200,000 mallards and other waterfowl during the waterfowl hunting season.

Refuge headquarters are at the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge 28 miles north of Oshkosh, Nebraska. A seasonal employee frequents the refuge area between mid-September and late January. Although public use is often intense between mid-January and late September, numerous species of waterfowl, shorebirds, and song birds find the refuge attractive during the spring and fall migration periods. Wintering populations vary widely depending on ice conditions on the lakes.


In the following preliminary list of 181 species of birds observed on the refuge from fall 1975 through winter 1980-81, those marked with an asterisk (*) nest on the refuge.

Those marked with a caret (^) are suspected to nest at least occasionally, but further confirmation is needed.

Habitat preference, seasonal occurrence and abundance have been coded as follows:

W - Wetlands                      Sp - March-May (3-5)
G - Grasslands                    S - June-August (6-8)
B - Brushlands                    F - September-November (9-11)
T - Trees                         W - December-February (12-2)
H - Buildings

a - abundant: common species, very numerous
c - common: certain to be seen in suitable habitat
u - uncommon: present, but not certain to be seen
r - rare: seen only a few times during a season
o - occasional: seen at intervals of 2 to 5 years
x - accidental: has been seen once or more since refuge establishment
Numerals (1 through 12) indicate known months of occurrence. Slashes separate seasons.
The years of occurrence (one or two) for accidental species are shown in parentheses.

LOONS Sp S F W ___ Common Loon W 5-6/10-11 u x u - ___ Artic Loon W 10 (1979, 1980) - - x -
GREBES Sp S F W ___ Horned Grebe W 3-5/9-11 u - c - ___ Eared Grebe W 4-7/8-12 u o c x ___ Western Grebe W 3-12 c u c o ___ Pied-billed Grebe W 4-11^ u u c -
PELICANS Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican W 4-5/9-10 u - u -
CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant W 3-11* u c u -
HERONS AND BITTERNS Sp S F W ___ Great Blue Heron W 3-11* c c u - ___ Great Egret W 5 (1979) x - - - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron W 4-9* r r o -
WATERFOWL Sp S F W ___ Tundra Swan (Whistling Swan) W 11 - - o - ___ Trumpeter Swan W 11 (1979) - - x - ___ Canada Goose W 10-4 u - u o ___ Greater White-fronted Goose W 10 - - o - ___ Snow Goose W 3-4/10-11 u - r - ___ Ross' Goose W 11 - - o - ___ Mallard W 1-12* a u a c ___ Gadwall W 3-6/8-1 u o u o ___ Northern Pintail W 3-5/8-1 u r u o ___ Green-winged Teal W 3-5/8-1 u r u o ___ Blue-winged Teal W 4-10* r r r - ___ Cinnamon Teal W 5-6 o o - - ___ American Wigeon W 3-6/8-1 u r u o ___ Northern Shoveler W 3-7/8-11 u r u - ___ Wood Duck W 4-10* r r r - ___ Redhead W 3-6/9-11 u o c - ___ Ring-necked Duck W 4-5/9-11 - - u - ___ Canvasback W 3-5/9-11 u - u - ___ Lesser Scaup W 3-6/9-11 u o u - ___ Common Goldeneye W 3-5/10-1 u - c u ___ Barrow's Goldeneye W 11-12 (1979) - - x x ___ Bufflehead W 3-5/10-1 u - c o ___ Surf Scoter W 10 (1979) - - x - ___ Ruddy Duck W 3-6/9-11 u o u - ___ Hooded Merganser W 9-12 - - r o ___ Common Merganser W 3-5/8-1 c u c o ___ Red-breasted Merganser W 3-4/9-12 r - r o
VULTURES Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture G 4 o - - -
HAWKS AND FALCONS Sp S F W ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk TB 12 - - - o ___ Red-tailed Hawk TG 1-12^ u u u u ___ Broad-winged Hawk TG 5 o - - - ___ Swainson's Hawk TG 4 o - - - ___ Rough-legged Hawk TG 11-3 r - u u ___ Golden Eagle TG 9-12 - - r o ___ Bald Eagle TWG 11-4 u - u u ___ Northern Harrier GW 3/9-11 o - u - ___ Osprey TWG 4/9-11 o - o - ___ Prairie Falcon G 9-11 - - r - ___ Peregrine Falcon GW 10 - - o - ___ Merlin TB 9-12 - - o o ___ American Kestrel TG 1-12* u u u u
GALLINACEOUS BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Sharp-tailed Grouse G 1-12^ r r r r ___ Northern Bobwhite BT 5-8 (1980) x x - - ___ Ring-necked Pheasant 1-12^ u u u u
CRANES Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane W 3-4/9-10 o - o -
RAILS Sp S F W ___ Sora W 6 - o - - ___ American Coot W 3-11^ u r c -
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Semipalmated Plover W 4-5/8-9 o r o - ___ Killdeer WG 3-1^ c u c r ___ Black-bellied Plover W 9-10 (1980) - - x - ___ Ruddy Turnstone W 9 (1975) - - x - ___ Common Snipe W 4/10 o - o - ___ Long-billed Curlew GW 4-5 o - - - ___ Spotted Sandpiper W 5/7-10 u r u - ___ Solitary Sandpiper W 4 o - - - ___ Greater Yellowlegs W 4-5/8-11 o o o - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs W 4-5/8-10 o o o - ___ Willet W 4-5/7 o o - - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper W 9-10 - - u - ___ Baird's Sandpiper W 4-5/8-11 o u c - ___ Least Sandpiper W 5/8-10 o u u - ___ Dunlin W 1 (1981) - - - x ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper W 8-9 - r r - ___ Western Sandpiper W 4/9 o - o - ___ Sanderling W 8-10 - r u - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher W 4-5 o - - - ___ Stilt Sandpiper W 8-9 - r r - ___ Marbled Godwit W 4/8-9 o o o - ___ American Avocet W 4-5/8-10 r r r - ___ Wilson's Phalarope W 5-6 r r - - ___ Red-necked Phalarope W 9-10 - - o -
GULLS AND TERNS Sp S F W ___ Glaucous Gull W 3 o - - - ___ Herring Gull W 3-5/9-1 u - u o ___ Ring-billed Gull W 3-1 a u a u ___ Franklin's Gull W 4-6/7-10 u r c - ___ Bonaparte's Gull W 4/10-11 o - u - ___ Sabine's Gull W 9 (1980) - - x - ___ Forster's Tern W 5-6/8-10 o o o - ___ Common Tern W 9 - - o - ___ Black Tern W 5-6/9 o - o -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove H 1-12 r r r r ___ Mourning Dove TBG 4-12* u c u o
CUCKOOS Sp S F W ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo TB 6-8 - r - -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Screech-Owl T 6+ ^ - o - - ___ Great Horned Owl T 1-12^ u u u u
GOATSUCKERS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk TG 5-8^ r r - -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher WT 3-5/7-1^ u u u o
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Northern Flicker TB 1-12* u u u u ___ Red-headed Woodpecker T 5-9^ r r - - ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker T 10 - - o - ___ Hairy Woodpecker T 1 - - - x ___ Downy Woodpecker TB 1-12* u u u u
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Kingbird TBG 5-9^ u u u - ___ Western Kingbird TBG 5-8^ u c - - ___ Gassin's Kingbird T 9 - - o - ___ Say's Phoebe BG 4-5/7-9 u r r - ___ Least Flycatcher T 5 o - - - ___ Western Pewee T 5-8^ c c - -
LARKS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark G 1-12* c u c c
SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Violet-green Swallow T 5 o - - - ___ Tree Swallow T 4-10* u u o - ___ Bank Swallow GTW 5/8-9 o o o - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow TW 5-7^ r u - - ___ Barn Swallow HTW 4-10* u c u - ___ Cliff Swallow GW 5-8* u c - -
JAYS AND CROWS Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay T 5/9-12* r - r o ___ Black-billed Magpie TG 1-12* c c c c ___ American Crow TG 1-12* c c c c ___ Pinon Jay T 11 (1975) - - x -
CHICKADEES Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee T 1-12* c c c c
NUTHATCHES Sp S F W ___ White-breasted Nuthatch T 3/7-9 o o o - ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch T 9 - - o -
CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper T 11 - - o -
WRENS Sp S F W ___ House Wren TB 4-9* c c u - ___ Rock Wren G 9 - - o -
THRASHERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Thrasher TB 5-9* u u r -
KINGLETS AND THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ American Robin T 1-12* u u u o ___ Varied Thrush TB 9 (1980) - - x - ___ Hermit Thrush TB 10 - - o - ___ Swainson's Thrush TB 5 o - - - ___ Eastern Bluebird TG 4 o - - - ___ Mountain Bluebird TG 3/10-11 o - o - ___ Townsend's Solitaire T 3/9-10 o - o - ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet TB 10-11 - - u -
PIPITS Sp S F W ___ American Pipit WG 5/9-11 u - u -
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Northern Shrike GTB 10-3 r - r r ___ Loggerhead Shrike TB 5-8^ u u - -
STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling TGH 1-12* c c a u
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ Red-eyed Vireo T 5-6/9^ o r o - ___ Warbling Vireo T 5-7* o u - -
WOOD WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Yellow Warbler TB 5-7* u u - - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler T 5/9-11 u - u - ___ Common Yellowthroat W 5-7^ r r - - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat B 5 o - - - ___ Wilson's Warbler TB 9 - - r - ___ American Redstart TB 5 o - - -
WEAVER FINCHES Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow HTB 1-12* c c c c
BLACKBIRDS AND ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink G 9 - - o - ___ Western Meadowlark G 1-12* c c c u ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird WG 5-6/9 r r o - ___ Red-winged Blackbird WG 3-11* u u u - ___ Orchard Oriole T 5-7* u u - - ___ Northern Oriole T 5-8* u c - - ___ Brewer's Blackbird G 9 - - o - ___ Common Grackle T 4-10* u a a - ___ Brown-headed Cowbird GBT 5-7* u u - -
GROSBEAKS AND SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Western Tanager T 5 (197?) o - - -
FINCHES AND SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ Black-headed Grosbeak T 5 o - - - ___ House Finch TBH 1 (1981) - - - x ___ Pine Siskin BT 10-3 o - o u ___ American Goldfinch BTG 1-12^ c c c u ___ Red Crossbill T 10 (1979) - - x - ___ Rufous-sided Towhee B 5/9-10 o - - - ___ Lark Bunting G 5-8^ u u r - ___ Savannah Sparrow G 5/10 r - r - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow G 7 - r - - ___ Vesper Sparrow G 4-5/8-10 r r r - ___ Lark Sparrow GB 5-9* r c u - ___ Dark-eyed Junco B 10-4 u - u r ___ American Tree Sparrow BG 10-3 u - u u ___ Chipping Sparrow BT 5/8-10 u r u - ___ Clay-colored Sparrow GBT 5/9-10 o - o - ___ Field Sparrow G 9 - - o - ___ Harris' Sparrow B 11 - - o - ___ White-crowned Sparrow B 4/10 o - u - ___ White-throated Sparrow L 10 - - o - ___ Song Sparrow B 9-1 - - o o ___ McCown's Longspur G 10 - - o - ___ Lapland Longspur G 11-12 - - o o ___ Chestnut-collared Longspur G 10 - - o -

For additional information contact:
                 Refuge Manager
                 Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge
                 Hc 68, Box 21
                 Ellsworth, Nebraska 69340
                 Telephone: 308/762-4893
This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1990.  Birds of North Platte National 
     Wildlife Refuge.  Cabela's.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1990.  Birds of North Platte National 
     Wildlife Refuge.  Cabela's.  Unpaginated.  Jamestown, ND: Northern 
     Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govnoplatte.htm  
     (Version 22MAY98).

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