Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Richard C. Rasche and Paul A. Johnsgard, “Birds of Lake McConaughy and the North Platte River Valley, Oshkosh to Keystone,” from Nebraska Bird Review (June 1984) 52(2).


Copyright 1984 Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union. Used by permission.


Cedar Point Biological Station was established in 1975 at a site approximately one mile below Kingsley Dam in Keith County, Nebraska. Since that time, summer ornithology classes have been periodically offered beginning in 1977 when it was taught by Dr. Stephen Fretwell. A variety of ornithologists have kept records of the summer birds of the area. Beginning in 1970, when he first visited the area, the senior author has accumulated a large amount of data covering all seasons of the year, which form the primary basis for the seasonal information in this paper. In addition, much information was contributed by C. Fred Zeillemaker from late 1977 to early 1982, when he was Manager at nearby Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Other contributors include: Charles Brown, Craig Faanes, Don Mahoney, Dorothy and Mark Rasche, and Melly Zeillemaker.

Because of the unusual diversity of terrestrial and aquatic habitats within the rather circumscribed area of Lake McConaughy and adjoining localities, it is of special interest to ornithologists. Furthermore, the area is essentially in the middle of the east-west faunal transition zone in the Great Plains, so that a number of closely related species-pairs (buntings, grosbeaks, tanagers, orioles, et al.) are represented. Finally the annual concentration of biologists at Cedar Point makes it desirable that a comprehensive bird list for the area be prepared. The following is largely limited to the North Platte River Valley from Oshkosh east to the vicinity of Keystone as indicated in Figure 1. Major birding areas include the Oshkosh sewage lagoons, the Lewellen area, Ash Hollow State Historical Park, Clear Creek State Game Management Area, Lake McConaughy, Lake Ogallala, Keystone Lake, and Cedar Point Biological Station. Except where otherwise indicated, the observations are those of the authors.