NEBRASKAland June 2016

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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JUNE 2016 • NEBRASKAland 21 NEBRASKAland Visitor and Last issue's winner of the Visitor drawing was Janet VanHouten of Denver, Colorado, who found the American bumble bee on page 56. Readers are encouraged to contact NEBRASKAland within 10 days after this issue's publication with the correct page number and name of this issue's "Visitor" – a critter found in Nebraska. We will then gather the correct entries and draw one to win a NEBRASKAland mug. To enter each month, write: NEBRASKAland Visitor 2200 North 33rd Street, Lincoln, NE 68503. Or e-mail: with "Visitor" in the subject line of the message. HINT: This issue's visitor is not on pages 16, 19, 21, or 61. Bumble bees (Bombus sps) are a common sight buzzing around flowers in Nebraska. There are approximately 50 species of bumble bees in North America, and roughly 20 species are found in Nebraska. Bumble bees overwinter as mated queens underground in a small chamber called a hibernaculum. The queens become active in the spring, feeding and preparing to lay eggs. Each queen will search for a proper place to establish her colony, often in an old rodent burrow. The first offspring are workers; later offspring will include males and future queens. The colony will reach its peak in the fall, and then the colony members will die off, with only the new mated queens surviving until the next spring to start new colonies. A Birding Obsession By Jeff Kurrus Birder Kermit Cummings, author of A Backyard Birding Experience, recently offered these steps to begin birdwatching as a family. 1) Start in your own backyard and learn about birds in your area. You might be surprised how many different species there are. 2) Attract new birds with feeders by providing a mixture of 90 percent sunflowers and 10 percent small grains. Another must is a birdbath for bathing and drinking. 3) Expand your knowledge by buying a field guide for birds in your part of the country. Pairing it with a children's field guide improves the experience for the entire family. 4) Purchase a pair of quality binoculars. These open up a whole new world of beauty, especially when many birds species spend a lot of time in the tops of trees. 5) Record all the different bird species you see, then include information on when and where you saw it as well as any other interesting details you noticed. With these simple steps, birding can become a family obsession, one that starts in your own backyard. ■ b k d d sur sp n Special thanks to Julie Van Meter, State Entomologist, Nebraska Department of Agriculture. June 21 Family Fishing Event Holmes Lake, Lincoln June 21 Growing Up WILD Mid-Plains Community College, McCook June 21-23 Outdoor Explorers' Day Camp Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln June 22 Family Fishing Event Mormon Island SRA, Grand Island June 23 Family Fishing Event Cottonmill Lake, Kearney June 23 Pony Express Re-ride Fort Kearny SHP, Kearney June 23 Family Fishing Event Towl Park, Omaha June 25 Family Fun Day Red Willow Reservoir SRA, McCook June 25 3-D Archery Shoot Red Willow Reservoir SRA, McCook June 25 Family Fishing Event Branched Oak SRA, Raymond June 29 Family Fishing Event Prairie Queen Recreation Area, LaVista June 30 Family Fishing Event Carter Lake, Omaha A young American robin perches on a fence in the author's backyard in Sarpy County near Gretna.

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