Activities for Nebraska’s International Migratory Bird Month

Staff Writer

The state of Nebraska is uniquely positioned on a major bird migration route with thousands of species passing through each spring and fall. Nebraska lies in what is known as the Prairie Pothole Region of the northern Great Plains and midgrass and tallgrass prairies that contain thousands of shallow wetlands known as potholes. These potholes of wetlands, wet meadows and ponds provide critical nutrients for thousands of species during their migration across the Great Plains into Canada. Avid bird enthusiast and birdwatchers ‘flock’ to the state to enjoy the colorful migrations.

Beginning in 1993, the second Saturday of May was established as the International Migratory Bird Day to bring attention to birds, bird migration and bird habitat needs. Because it was a huge success, Nebraska extended the celebration to include the entire month of May.

To celebrate the International Migratory Bird Month, many agencies and groups host special bird-related events throughout May, including guided bird walks, workshops about how to make your backyard more bird friendly and how to build a bird feeder, to name a few. Last year more than 60 events were held throughout the Nebraska. The events are listed on their website at www.nebraskabirdmonth.org.

The Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands, Pine Ridge Ranger District, in partnership with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies plan to host two activities on Saturday, May 14, 2015 at Chadron State Park. A guided bird walk will be held at 9:00 AM, followed by children’s crafts at 10:00 AM. While the organizers will have a few extra binoculars for visitors to use, they encourage everyone to bring their own. They will also have several brochures, maps, and field guides available.

Erin Considine, Wildlife Biologist for the Pine Ridge Ranger District said, “This is a great opportunity for families and kids of all ages to learn about the migratory birds of Nebraska. The prairie-pothole region of the U.S. – Canada frontier provides vital migrant habitat for a number of bird species and is the primary breeding ground for waterfowl. The Central Flyway of the Great Plains host vast numbers of the birds that traverse the continent from Texas to northern parts of Canada and Alaska. This event at Chadron State Park will allow folks to view a number of birds that are local to the area and if we are lucky, see a few of the migrants on their way up to Canada!”

Visit the Pine Ridge Ranger District for more information or to apply. Interested persons may also call the office at 308-432-0300, or visit our website at www.fs.fed.us/r2/nebraska.

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