Birding the Plains and Sandhills of Nebraska: Cranes and Grouse

Observe one of nature’s greatest spectacles! In Nebraska’s Platte River valley, view the world’s largest gathering of cranes, plus millions of waterfowl and rare species of grouse!
Rating (4.86)
Program No. 1259RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Nearly half a million Sandhill Cranes descend upon the broad valley of Nebraska’s Platte River from late February until early April, creating the largest gathering of cranes in the world. Journey through rural Nebraska to witness some of earth’s greatest wildlife spectacles — from the millions of ducks and geese found in the Rainwater Basin to the amazing plumage and courting ritual of two rare species, Sharp-tailed Grouse and Greater Prairie Chickens.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to 1 mile daily on unpaved paths. Standing up to 3 hours daily in blinds and other viewing areas. Must be able to board and disembark transport. Cold weather and walking in low light conditions (pre-sunrise, post-sunset) increase the level of difficulty.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Along the Platte River, observe Sandhill Cranes feeding in the fields for as far as the eye can see.
  • View an abundance of waterfowl, shore birds and resident raptors at the Harlan County Reservoir.
  • Witness the annual spring courtship rites of the Sharp-tailed Grouse and the Greater Prairie Chickens.

General Notes

All Road Scholar birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1 in the field. We adhere to the American Birding Association’s Code of Ethics. Learn more at http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
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