Birds of Nebraska: Our Favorite Species

Posted by on Feb 9, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on Birds of Nebraska: Our Favorite Species

Birds of Nebraska: Our Favorite Species

It’s National Bird Feeding Month, which could only mean one thing: it’s time to talk about the beautiful bird species that call Nebraska home! At a glance, many people come to Nebraska for the Sandhills, unmistakable midwestern hospitality, and the allure of enjoying a life of comfort and comfort, but many fail to recognize just how diverse Nebraska’s bird species are. Home to over 465 species of birds, it’s hard to imagine Nebraska without its beautiful birds! From epic events like the annual Sandhill Crane Migration to the unforgettable grassland dances of Sharp-Tailed Grouse and Prairie Chicken, it can be a bit hard to keep all of our flying friends in line

To help paint a picture of just how diverse Nebraska’s birds are, we’re here to highlight some of our favorites.

Sandhill Crane: It’s hard to picture highlighting our favorite birds without starting off with the Sandhill Crane. One of the largest cranes you’ll find in North America, Sandhill Cranes are gorgeous creatures known for their yearly pilgrimage to the Platte River Valley for yearly breeding. Known for migrating in large packs, Sandhill Cranes will blow your mind with their distinct size and sheer beauty when you see packs in the thousands of birds all coming together for the same purpose before they migrate for the winter season.

Western Meadowlark: The state bird of Nebraska, Western Meadowlarks are songstresses if we’ve ever heard them. With a rich chirp and range of songs, the Western Meadowlark belongs to the Blackbirds and Orioles family and are extremely common throughout Nebraska. Often found in grasslands, you’ll be able to easily spot these birds due to their yellow and black underbelly, with complementary brown plumage on its back. Make sure to take a photo of a Western Meadowlark on your next Nebraska birdwatching adventure to commemorate its significance to the state.

Warblers: If you have an affinity for Warblers, Nebraska is the perfect place to visit. With Warbler species ranging from Pine Warblers to Magnolia Warblers to Kentucky Warblers, you’ll be warbling in excitement when you see these stunning birds, commonly known for their yellow underbelly. Dazzling bird watchers with their vibrant plumage, the best place to find Nebraska’s various species of warblers is on the eastern side of the state during the spring before they migrate east!

Belted Kingfisher: If you’re looking for some edgy hairstyle inspiration, the Belted Kingfisher is for you! A fairly common bird across Nebraska, Belted Kingfishers are stunning for their plumage alone, boasting beautiful blue, white, and orange feathers with a distinct mohawk-looking hairdo. Often found near lakes and water sources, Belted Kingfishers are described to have wild rattling calls that will quickly catch your attention.

Burrowing Owl: Most common in Western and Central Nebraska, you’ll be hooting for joy when you catch a glimpse of Burrowing Owls in the wild. Known for being active during the day and night, Burrowing Owls are gorgeous with their white and brown plumage.  While they are becoming more endangered as their traditional food sources are continuously dwindling, conservation efforts are in place to conserve this iconic species of owl.

Prairie Falcon: What would our list of favorite birds in Nebraska be without mentioning the Prairie Falcon? Mainly common throughout the western half of Nebraska during the winter, the Prairie Falcon is a tactical beast when it comes to hunting, soaring across fields at speeds that’ll make your jaw drop. Often found on the prairie, farmland, and around lakes in Nebraska, you’ll know a Prairie Falcon when you see it soar across the sky and dive for prey in a blink of an eye.

Mountain Chickadee: While a rare sight to see unless you’re in Western Nebraska in the winter, we especially appreciate the Mountain Chickadee for their distinction as small songbirds. If you want to hear the songs of the Mountain Chickadee, you’ll definitely want to check out the National Audubon Society’s website! By and large, Mountain Chickadees are creatures of habit and prefer to live in higher elevations, a large culprit for why they are so rare in the state of Nebraska. If you see one on your next Nebraska birdwatching adventure, you can consider yourself extremely lucky!

American Avocet: Boasting a long beak, distinct plumage, and a flamingo-like stature, American Avocets are a sight to see in the wild. Common throughout the western half of Nebraska, American Avocets love to call beaches and prairie ponds home. With orange, white and brown plumage, American Avocets are gentle creatures that are downright adorable. For the best chance of seeing these brilliant birds in action, we recommend taking a trip to a Nebraskan lake or pond during the spring and summer.

Sharp-Tailed Grouse: Sharp-Tailed Grouse, also known as Prairie-chickens are the pride and joy of the Nebraskan prairie with their beautiful plumage and unique mating dance. With brown, white, gold, white, and black plumage, Sharp-Tailed Grouse do a great job of blending into the lush scenery of the prairie, especially in the dense shrubs where they typically call home. In regard to their distinct mating dance, male Sharp-tailed Grouse put on quite the show for females with their loud stamping and cooing. (You’re going to want to see a video of this one in action to get the full effect.) Such dancing is a major draw for visitors looking to witness the beauty of nature.

Birdwatching Adventures: If you’re looking to spectate an event of a lifetime in watching Sharp-Tailed Grouse mate, Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental offers birdwatching adventures in the spring. To learn more, click here!

No matter what time of year you embark on your next Nebraska birdwatching adventure, you’re sure to see beautiful birds. The best part? The Sandhills Motel is open year-round here in Mullen, the epicenter of all things birding, so make sure lodging with us is a part of your travel plans.