Date of this Version
Persons living in Nebraska often feel that they are living in a cultural wasteland; its citizenry preoccupied with violent sports such as hunting and football. Yet many are unaware that they are actually residing in one of the prime locations in the entire world for observing and enjoying some of the most aesthetically appealing of all the world's biological attractions. The area around Kingsley Dam and Lake McConaughy, for example, is known to have attracted more than 330 bird species, including 104 breeders (plus 17 probable breeders) making it the third-most species-rich bird location in the interior U.S.A. (after Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in southern Texas and Cheyenne Bottoms WMA in central Kansas). More impressively, the spring congregations of cranes and waterfowl along the Platte Valley have recently been ranked by Roger Pasquier (writing in Forbes Magazine, 1997) as the greatest bird spectacle on earth.
It has been estimated that bird-watching activities in the U.S.A. increased 155 percent during the 1990's, or at a more rapid rate than all other outdoor sports including walking, skiing and hiking, whereas fishing, hunting and tennis have all actually declined in popularity. Moneys now spent on wildlife recreation (over $100 billion) now exceeds total cash receipts from all livestock sales ("Wildlife Recreation," in The Main Street Economist, April, 2004). In 2001, 46 million birdwatchers spent some $32 billion. At least 63 million people in the U.S.A. feed or watch birds at home. In Nebraska an estimated 23.1 million dollars per year are spent on non-consumptive bird-related activities, and about 800 people have related jobs (Bird Conservation, spring, 1997, pp 6-8).
Every month of the year has its own bird-related attractions in Nebraska, as the following monthly breakdown will suggest. See also the migration calendar near the end of this book for more detailed information.
Birdwatching Throughout the Year in Nebraska
Fundamentals of Birdwatching
Optical Equipment and Acoustic Aids
Vernacular and Technical Names of Birds
Backyard Birding Opportunities
Monitoring Bird Populations
Bird-finding Areas and Birding Information Sources in Nebraska
Maps showing Nebraska Counties and County Numbering Systems
I. THE FAR WESTERN REGION: PINE-RIDGE COUNTRY
II. THE WEST-CENTRAL REGION: SANDHILLS COUNTRY
III. THE EAST-CENTRAL REGION: SANDHILL CRANE COUNTRY
IV. THE EASTERN REGION: LOWER PLATTE AND MISSOURI VALLEYS
Annotated Checklist of Regularly Occurring Nebraska Birds
Calendar of Nebraska's Migratory Birds
Nebraska Bird Specialties: Where and When to See Them
Habitats of Significance to Nebraska Birds
Latitude/Longitude Data for State-owned Birding Sites
List of Mapped Birding Sites, By County
County Maps Showing Birding Sites
Species Guide to Sanctuaries, Refuges and Other Birding Sites
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