An online bird-watching guide to Nebraska

Ask almost any American birder to associate Nebraska with a single bird species, and the likely response will be “cranes!” It is true that Nebraska’s Platte Valley annually hosts the largest concentration of sandhill cranes occurring anywhere in the world, a half-million or so, and is the most often used stopover point for whooping cranes between their wintering and breeding grounds.

Furthermore, Nebraska’s vast interior Sandhills region, the size of several New England states combined, hosts many increasingly rare grassland birds. Its northwestern Pine Ridge country is a Rocky Mountain ecosystem in miniature, with golden eagles, prairie falcons, and many western forest birds. Our Niobrara and Platte Valleys are the best documented meeting places and hybrid zones of eastern and western North American bird faunas, and the Missouri Valley forests ring each spring and summer with the voices of such eastern birds as scarlet tanagers, whip-poor-wills, and chuck-will-widows.

We sincerely hope the over 400 public-access birding sites described here will bring you to Nebraska, where both the horizons and the birding opportunities are endless.

Paul A. Johnsgard

Featured from Left: Burrowing Owl, Avocet and Sandhill Crane by Michael Forsberg; Prairie Chicken and Long-Billed Curlew by Paul Johnsgard