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Prizes awarded in second Nebraska Birding Bowl

a least tern sits on a tree limb
Birding Bowl winner Catherine Brown submitted this photo of a least bittern in Towl Park in Omaha. This was the first time she saw the species, which fellow birders helped her identify. Photo copyright Catherine Brown

Bird-watching enthusiasts and families enjoyed new adventures all throughout the month of May while competing in the second Nebraska Birding Bowl. And now, several will be enjoying prizes because of it.

Out of 260 participants, including 68 youth, the following names were drawn for prizes during this free, statewide birding competition:

  • David Peaslee (Competitive Birder, more than 150 species): $1,000
  • Catherine Brown (Competitive Birder, 100-150 species): $500
  • Skyler Pollock (Competitive Birder, 50-99 species): Field guides
  • Isabella Lombardo (Dabbling Birder): Vortex Diamondback binoculars
  • Erin Cooper (Backyard Birder): Bird feeding system
  • Stephanie Rogers (Fledging Flock): Youth birding kits
  • Chrissie Pitterson: Two-night state park cabin stay

Birders used eBird, a community science platform, to track observations while contributing data for bird conservation. By the end of the Birding Bowl, teams contributed more than 3,100 eBird checklists and observed more than 290 species.

Catherine Brown, whose name was drawn in the Competitive Birder category, said her best Birding Bowl day was the morning she found an unexpected bird at Towl Park in Omaha. With help from nearby birders, they determined it was a least bittern — a bird many other Birding Bowl participants also stopped by to enjoy during the challenge.

“It was just such a joy to share this experience with so many, and I am so grateful for those who helped with the ID,” Brown said.

Erin Cooper, who won in the Backyard Birder category, said she enjoyed watching the birds in her backyard and “[learning] about some new friends, in particular the warblers. They were new for us this year and were fun to watch,” she said. “It also encouraged us to use nature, in particular listening to the songbirds, as a way to relax and recharge after a stressful day at work or school.”

The Nebraska Birding Bowl is a joint project of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the Wild Bird Habitat Store and Audubon Great Plains.

The competition provided a chance for nature lovers to go outside and observe the birds that are all around them, said organizer Olivia DaRugna.

“We had birders enjoying beautiful birds all across the state in their own yards, at local parks, and during weekend excursions to state parks,” she said. “Congrats to the prize winners. We hope everyone enjoyed this birding opportunity and perhaps had the chance to observe a new bird.”

For more resources on birding in Nebraska throughout the year, visit

About Renae Blum

Renae Blum is a writer and copy editor for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Nebraskaland Magazine.

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