Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Janis Paseka

Date of this Version



Paseka, Book review of At Home and at Large in the Great Plains: Essays and Memories by Paul A. Johnsgard, from Nebraska Bird Review (June 2015) 83(2).


Copyright 2015 Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union. Used by permission.


Nebraska birders may remember reading some of the 14 essays published in this book, since they appeared previously in Prairie Fire, the monthly Great Plains public policy newspaper. Topics of the short and engaging essays range from changing bird life to outstanding birding areas to conservation in the Great Plains. We read about sediment deposits, the “gifts of glaciers past,” which were left by retreating rivers of ice thousands of years ago and resulted in the creation of the prairie potholes so important now to our waterfowl and wading birds. One essay marvels at the variety of animal skeletons, including a saber-toothed deer, found at Ashfall Fossil Beds. Another chronicles the author’s observations of the hatching of a chick of the greater race of Sandhill Cranes which breed in the mountain meadows of far western Wyoming. Johnsgard describes the new crane as “a beautiful coppery-gold chick, as shiny as a newly minted penny.” Also included is an informal autobiography, an earlier version of which appeared in 2010 in the Nebraska Bird Review. The book is available from Zea Books, Lincoln NE, and in electronic form at