With diverse species and unique habitats, the Niobrara Sanctuary provides incredible opportunities for birders and others interested in birdlife. Native grasslands are one of the most threatened biomes in North America and the fragmentation of prairie landscapes and loss of habitat have had deleterious effects on grassland birds. Yet, native grasslands and wide-open prairies are what make the 5,000-acre Niobrara Sanctuary and much of the surrounding Nebraska Sandhills unique and vitally important. For these reasons, the Niobrara Sanctuary emphasizes the conservation of grassland birds and their habitats and provides unique opportunities for guests to view, photograph and experience this birdlife. Visitors to the Sanctuary have the chance to see and hear the distinctive characteristics of Prairie Grouse, including Sharp-tailed Grouse and Greater Prairie-chickens. Bobolinks, Long-billed Curlews and Upland Sandpipers are also commonly seen throughout the grasslands and meadows of the Sanctuary. Throughout the spring and summer, guests to the property will likely hear the melodious song of Western Meadowlarks, accompanied by Dickcissels, Blue Grosbeaks, Eastern Phoebes, Barn Swallows and many other birds. The mosaic of woodlands on the Sanctuary, in addition, also provide important habitat for birds. In particular, the tall woodlands and forests along the Niobrara River are a breeding habitat for Ovenbirds, a stop over for migrating Bald Eagles, a haven for wild turkeys and home to various other unique woodland species. For birders and photographers, the Niobrara Sanctuary offers the opportunity to encounter a rich array of birdlife throughout diverse and unique habitats. Guests can watch or photograph birds from a variety of viewing blinds (hides) across the property, and throughout the year, the sanctuary designs special blinds that offer guests the chance to intimately experience events like Sharp-tailed Grouse booming and mating rituals. The diversity of birdlife can also be enjoyed from the many hiking trails and walking paths on the sanctuary, alongside the network of country roads in the area, or simply from the front porch of one of our guesthouses.
Unless otherwise noted, all images © Ronald Klataske
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Gallery under construction, more photos coming soon.