WEED (Amaranthus albus). --
One of the most common weeds of the recently broken prairie
land, almost everywhere in the state.
(Portulaca oleracea). -- Now to be found everywhere
in the state. It is not only a wayside weed, but a great
pest in fields, pastures, and lawns.
(Plantagao major). -- Now very widely distributed.
The narrow leaved plantain (P. lanceolata) is
appearing in the eastern counties.
(Taraxocum tarazacum). -- In eastern counties and
rapidly extending westward.
THISTLE (Cnicus arvensis). --
This so-called "Canada thistle" has appeared in a few places
in the eastern counties.
lappa). -- Not common and mostly confined to the eastern
leucanthemum). -- Appearing in the eastern counties,
where it seems to thrive.
FAUNA.10 The little work
that has thus far been done in Nebraska towards gaining a
knowledge of its animal life, indicates that our fauna is
comparatively rich in species and in many instances in
individuals also. In fact, in this respect it seems to be
ahead of most of the neighboring states. Several causes for
this richness in forms of life may be cited. When we take
into consideration the variation in altitude above sea
level, the differences in surface configuration, climate,
etc., that pertain to the state, its location, and the
relation which it bears to the country at large, perhaps the
wonderment concerning this great richness will be less. Our
southeastern corner is only about eight hundred feet, our
western border almost six thousand feet above tide water.
The state is divided into timbered, prairie, and plains
regions. It lies nearly in the middle of the United States,
with a high mountain chain to the west and a giant waterway
along its-eastern boundary. In. fact, in Nebraska meet
eastern, western, southern, and northern faunas, while we
also have a fauna of our own, 90 to speak. We find forms
belonging to low and high altitudes, to wet and dry
climates, to timbered and prairie countries, as well as to
semi-desert and alkali regions. The sandy interior also
offers special features for a distinct fauna.
A casual comparison of past and present
conditions shows that the native animals have materially
changed since Nebraska was first settled. Many of the
earlier forms have disappeared or become much restricted in
their distribution. On the other hand, several forms have
greatly increased in numbers and have extended their range
as well. Less than fifty years ago our plains were covered
by immense herds of the bison, or American buffalo, and elk
in large bands roamed at liberty throughout the middle and
western portions. Both species of deer, the white-tailed or
Virginia, and the black-tailed or mule, in considerable
numbers, were to be seen in our woodlands, among the fringes
of brush and trees that marked the smaller water-courses, or
else lurked in the tall grasses of the sand-hills and other
rough portions of the country where they were able to hide
during daytime from their lesser enemies. The antelope
ranged the prairies at will, even to within a comparatively
short distance of our eastern borders. Some mountain sheep,
too, were at home in the rougher country in the northwest,
while at times small bands of wild horses also galloped over
the Plains. Coincident and in a measure dependent upon these
for their food supply were foxes, wolves, panthers, lynxes,
and even a few bears. But all this is now changed. Where the
bison, elk, deer, and antelope once browsed our grasses, we
now have instead herds of cattle and sheep. The larger and
fiercer carnivora, along with the forms upon which they were
dependent, have been killed or driven away.
The numbers of our small mammals, too,
have been greatly changed. The beaver, otter, wolverine,
badger, and several others of the fur-bearing kinds are now
very scarce where they were once common or even abundant. A
few of the rodents, such as are favored by the cultivation
of the soil and growing of grain, instead of diminishing,
have increased. These are forms like the prairie dog, pocket
10 This description of the
animal life of Nebraska is by Lawrence Bruner, B.Sc.,
professor of entomology and ornithology in the University of