Spring is in the air, which can only mean one thing – prime bird watching is upon us here in Nebraska. The area is home to a couple of unique birding opportunities, including the chance to witness the fantastic courtship ritual between the sharp-tail grouse and prairie chicken. To help you in deciding your spring vacation destination, we’ve outlined the four biggest reasons why bird watching in the spring in Nebraska is an activity you need to put on your bucket list.

The animated Grassland Dance

Starting as early as February, and in full-swing by April, is the yearly Grassland Dance between the sharp-tail grouse and prairie chicken. Presented by Glidden Canoe Rental since 2011, the courtship ritual is held on a “lek”, which are special grounds in which the dance takes place. The sharp-tail grouse produces a deep booming sound while he runs, stomps, and whirls around with erect tail feathers to attract the female prairie chicken. In response, the female also clomps and leaps around and inflates her orange neck sacs. Viewing this event is stunning, and a school bus is used as a viewing blind in order to provide for the best photo opportunities.

The Great Sandhill Crane migration

Every year between February and early April, over 80 percent of the world’s Sandhill Crane population stop at Nebraska’s Platte River on their way north from Texas, Oklahoma or Mexico. The phenomenon brings those from all over the world looking to take amazing bird photos, hear the crane’s melodic sounds and just take in the beauty of nature.

A variety of outdoor fun

Although getting in plenty of once-in-a-lifetime bird watching may be your number one goal during your spring visit to Nebraska, there are other entertaining ways to spend your time in the area to round out your trip. Take an action-packed canoe or kayak trip down the winding Dismal River, or kick back and bask in the sunshine during a stock-tank ride down the Middle Loup River. A drive down “one of America’s 10 most beautiful highways”, may also be in order during your trip, on the Sandhills Scenic Byway. There are many things to do in Nebraska during your spring retreat.

Comfortable accommodations

Enjoy the serenity of lodging in the countryside, where you can take advantage of some prime birding, while still relishing in all of the comforts of staying in a bustling city.  Nebraska offers plenty of nearby accommodations that can feature from air conditioning, Direct TV, laundry facilities, RV hookups to in-room telephones. If you don’t feel like cooking, visit the nearby eatery Red’s, which offers classic diner favorites.

So, grab your binoculars and bird identification guide, pack a picnic and head out for a springtime afternoon of some of the most amazing bird watching you’ve ever experienced.