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!
Sprague’s Pipit © Phil Swanson

Sprague’s Pipit

This elusive species migrates annually through the Nebraska grasslands to its breeding prairies to the north.

Burrowing Owl © John Carlini

Burrowing Owl

Cuteness abounds when these owls inhabit prairie dog towns in the sandhills and western prairies.

Sharp-tailed Grouse © Phil Swanson

Sharp-tailed Grouse

The iconic dancer of the prairies, this species is sought by birders around the country.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper © Joel Jorgensen

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

For this species of conservation concern the Rainwater Basin is a critical stopover on the way to the arctic.

Cerulean Warbler © Phil Swanson

Cerulean Warbler

Small pockets of this imperiled species remain in Nebraska primarily in Missouri Valley deciduous forests.

Piping Plover © Michael Willison

Piping Plover

This endangered inland sub-species may be found nesting on sandbars of larger rivers.

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

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