Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Copyright (c) 2007, Paul A. Johnsgard


This book has been written in the hope that visitors to the Platte Valley may gain a greater appreciation for it through learning some of its animals and plants in addition to the Platte Valley's star spring attraction, its sandhill cranes. Besides the cranes, we have a world-class migration of geese and ducks, a slightly later migration of shorebirds, including what is probably the buff-breasted sandpiper's most important spring staging area between its South American wintering grounds and its arctic breeding grounds. Nebraska also has what may be the largest surviving population of greater prairie-chickens of any state, and an even larger population of sharp-tailed grouse. It is also perhaps the easternmost portion of the Great Plains where one can reasonably expect to see such classic grassland animals as prairie dogs, pronghorns, burrowing owls, prairie falcons, golden eagles and ferruginous hawks. Just to the north of the Platte Valley is the Sandhills region, a near-wilderness of 19,000 square miles with large populations of such classic grassland birds as long-billed curlews, upland sandpipers, homed larks, and a half-dozen species of grassland sparrows. And, just to the south of the Platte Valley is a unique Rainwater Basin, with dozens of spring meltwater ponds and marshes that seasonally support a large diversity of wetland species, Few other places in North America can provide to much appeal to birders and other naturalists. I hope you will enjoy the Platte Valley as much as I have done for nearly 50 years- Paul A. Johnsgard

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