|Author||Mary Bomberger Brown and Paul A. Johnsgard|
The central Platte River Valley region of Nebraska encompasses 11 counties and nearly 10,000 square miles, and extends about 120 miles from the western edge of Lincoln County to the eastern edge of Merrick County. At its center is the Platte River, the historic spring staging area for Sandhill and Whooping cranes, five species of geese, and millions of waterfowl and water-dependent birds. Collectively, at least 373 bird species have been reported from the Central Platte Valley, making it the most species-rich bird location in Nebraska, and of the most species-diverse regions in the Great Plains. The abundance, distribution and habitats of these species are summarized, with special consideration given to the Valley's three nationally threatened and endangered birds, the Whooping Crane, Interior Least Tern, and Piping Plover, and the now probably extinct Eskimo Curlew. Also included are a species checklist, a list of 82 regional birding sites, and a bibliography of 130 citations.