Lillian Annette Rowe Sanctuary & Iain Nicholson Audubon Center is 1,250 acres. This area, the largest Audubon refuge in the region, protects prime sandhill and whooping crane habitats near Kearney, and includes nearly six miles of river frontage, plus about 260 acres of native prairie. Several riverside blinds are located on the property, and spring sunrise(5 a.m.) or sunset (5 p.m.) excursions to the blinds can be arranged between early March and mid-April ($20.00 per person, reservations are needed). There is also a self-guided hiking/birding trail, and an unpublished bird list of 154 species. The sanctuary headquarters provides information and sells books and other bird-related materials. Summer breeding birds include dickcissel, upland sandpiper and bobolink, as well as riparian wooded habitats species such as rose-breasted grosbeak and willow flycatcher. Least terns and piping plovers nest on barren sandbars that are also used by roosting cranes.
A birding trail begins at the Iain Nicholson Center, a new (2003) million-dollar educational facility built with picture windows directly facing the Platte River. Office hours are 9-5 from Monday through Friday, Sunday 1-5 p.m.; open 7 days/week during crane season. No admission charge, but $2.00 donation requested.