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This volume presents fourteen essays (some updated) that originally appeared in Prairie Fire, a monthly free newspaper that for seven years (as of 2015) has carried important messages of social, environmental, and economic issues in a mature and nonpartisan manner to tens of thousands of residents of Nebraska, western Iowa, eastern Colorado, and southern South Dakota, and by mail to subscribers in the rest of the world. These essays discuss the North American east-west ecological boundaries, spring migration events, birds at the bird feeder, feathered survivors of a glacial past, the threatened sharp-tailed grouse of Nebraska and South Dakota, and the increasingly palpable effects of climate change on bird species distribution. A central section recalls some “sacred places” of the Great Plains: Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, the Ashfall Fossil Beds, Squaw Creek Refuge, the Hutton Niobrara Ranch Sanctuary, and Yellowstone National Park. Reflections on our troubled coexistence with mountain lions and grizzly bears and a recollection of crane season in Wyoming round out the selections. The collection also includes an updated and expanded version of an informal autobiography, “My Life in Biology,” written at the request of the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union and published in 2010 in the Nebraska Bird Review. To this is added a current and comprehensive list of all published writings of a man who modestly describes himself as “probably the world’s most prolific living author of ornithological and natural history literature.”


isbn 978-1-60962-071-4 (ebook)

Publication Date



Zea Books


Lincoln, Nebraska


birds, nature, wildlife, Great Plains, conservation, climate change, ornithology, memoirs


Biodiversity | Desert Ecology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Ornithology | Other Animal Sciences | Poultry or Avian Science | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology | Zoology


Copyright (c) 2015 Paul A. Johnsgard

At Home and at Large in the Great Plains: Essays and Memories