Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



International Shorebird Survey Report for Southeastern Nebraska—Spring 1997


Copyright 1997 Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union. Used by permission.


In 1974, Manomet Observatory in Massachusetts organized the International Shorebird Survey (ISS) to collect information on shorebirds during migration. The project is intended to monitor shorebird population trends and to identify major migration routes, timing, and locations of staging areas. More than 600 contributors from 38 states of the United States, and countries, territories, and commonwealths throughout the hemisphere have contributed data since the program's inception. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission collected data for the ISS in the eastern Rainwater Basin area (Clay, Fillmore, York, and Seward counties) from 1993-1996.

Nebraska's eastern saline wetlands, located in or near the city of Lincoln, are considered critically imperiled and the most limited and endangered vegetation community in the state (LaGrange 1997). The shallow waters and exposed mudflats are especially attractive to waterfowl and shorebirds, who feed on the abundant invertebrate life forms. More than 230 species of birds have been identified in the salt basins of Lancaster County alone, more than half the total number of species reported for Nebraska (Farrar and Gersib 1991). In 1997, we began surveying eastern saline wetlands to document the numbers and species of shorebirds using these unique natural habitats.