Birding in Nebraska

photo by Janis Paseka © Janis Paseka
photo by Kathy DeLara © Kathy DeLara

There are so many wonderful birds and bird habitats in Nebraska that a single lifetime isn't nearly long enough to enjoy them all. Nebraska’s Platte Valley annually hosts the world's largest crane concentration, and also is the most frequent stopover-point for migrating Whooping Cranes. Our Sandhills region of grassy dunes and wetlands hosts many endemic prairie birds, including both Greater Prairie-Chickens and Sharp-tailed Grouse. Our western Pine Ridge country is a miniature Rocky Mountain ecosystem, with many western songbirds and raptors. The Missouri Valley forests ring each spring and summer with the voices of eastern warblers, tanagers, and flycatchers. Like two clear blue ribbons, the Niobrara and Platte rivers connect both ends of the state and provide the meeting grounds for several species of eastern and western birds. What more could a bird-lover want in a state?

Dr. Paul A. Johnsgard, Professor Emeritus, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Why Bird Nebraska?

   Don't miss the outstanding slideshow of breeding birds!
Prothonotary Warbler © Phil Swanson

Prothonotary Warbler

Known more from southern swamps, this bird sneaks into the state at old Missouri River ox-bows.

Ross’s Goose © Michael Willison

Ross’s Goose

The Central Flyway is one of the two primary migration routes used by this smaller version of the Snow Goose.

Hudsonian Godwit © Phil Swanson

Hudsonian Godwit

As these birds make their way to the arctic in spring, major concentrations stop to refuel in the Rainwater Basin.

Snow Goose © Janis Paseka

Snow Goose

Hundreds of thousands of Snow Geese migrate annually through the Central Flyway.

Harris’s Sparrow © John Carlini

Harris’s Sparrow

This spectacularly handsome sparrow, a northern tundra breeder, migrates in numbers through the Central Plains.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak © Phil Swanson

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

A harbinger of spring in the east, it overlaps in the west with its cousin, Black-headed Grosbeak.

Birds of Nebraska

There is a reason the Peterson guides used the 100th meridian, which dissects Nebraska, as the change from eastern to western species.

Birding Activities

Nebraska has an active birding community involved in regular activities like seasonal surveys as well as regional festivals.

NEBirds Discussion Group

Join our Yahoo group to discuss recent sightings, identification questions, and other topics of general interest to Nebraska birders.

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