Nebraska is Central Flyway
Nebraska is a popular layover spot on the Central Flyway, a ribbon of North America spanning from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is trafficked by many species of migrating birds. For this reason, Nebraska is a great birding state, and there are opportunities throughout the spring to learn about our avian visitors.
Following is a list of bird watching opportunities and other spring events celebrating Nebraska's diverse bird population. More information about these and other events are available on our online calendar.
Sandhill Crane Migration
For many birders from both Nebraska and around the globe, the annual stop of the Sandhill Cranes on the Platte River is a must-see. The Visitors Center at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area is open daily from March 6 to April 6 for those who want to see the cranes – or who want more information on these unique birds.
Ponca State Park hosts Marsh Madness each Saturday in March. This event features guided observation blind sessions on wetlands located on park grounds. Because space in the blinds is limited, reservations are required. Marsh Madness also features crafts, avian tours and more.
Bird Banding Workshops
The AkSarBen Aquarium near Gretna will host bird banding workshops March 7 and April 4. Licensed bird banders will capture and release many of the state's different songbirds, while teaching fascinating details about our fine feathered friends. Besides an up-close lesson on field identification, participants will learn about the birds' migration patterns and other information. The workshops are free of charge, and can be attended by adults and children. Groups are welcome.
International Migratory Bird Month
May is International Migratory Bird Month, and the Game and Parks Commission has many events planned to celebrate. Guided bird walks, bird festivals and more are planned at state parks, recreation areas, museums and nature centers all month long. In addition, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will proclaim May Nebraska migratory Bird Month during a proclamation ceremony on May 13. More information on the many statewide events planned to celebrate is available online.
Pelicans at Harlan County Reservoir
Visit Harlan County Reservoir between March 1 and April 15 for a glimpse of the pelicans who take up temporary residence at the lake each year.
Other Nebraska birding resources
The Nebraska Birding Trails website is an online bird-watching guide for the State of Nebraska. This site has information on statewide birding locations as well as pre-planned routes for the best birding opportunities!
The Nebraska Bird Library is an online, searchable database of Nebraska's 450 avian species. Search by common name, scientific name or bird characteristics. Once you find your bird species, you will have descriptions, range maps, photos and fun facts.
The Chicken Dance Trail website highlights birdwatching opportunities in southwest and south central Nebraska, including opportunities to see and hear prairie chickens.
The Audubon Nebraska Crane Festival is an annual conference that attracts crane lovers from around the world.
The Kearney Visitors Bureau website has resources and lists crane watching spots for those interested in seeing the annual migration up close.
Audubon Nebraska offers tips and resources for birding in Nebraska on their website.
The Nebraska Metro Birding website offers tips for bird watching in Nebraska's cities.
For latest bird sightings in Nebraska, join the NEBirds Listserve”