Due to habitat diversity, Keith County, Nebraska is considered “the best place in the state and the third best in the country to go birding,” according to noted ornithologist and author Dr. Paul Johnsgard, UNL Professor Emeritus. Our location on central migration flyways and proximity to large bodies of water add up to ideal conditions for birds. More than 360 species have been identified in the area, with over 100 breeding species. Spring and fall migration time are especially good opportunities to spot Sandhill cranes, white pelicans, ducks, geese, and shore birds. Whooping cranes make an occasional appearance, as well.
The Lake McConaughy region is also the best place in the state to view America’s national bird, the bald eagle. Eagles gather in large numbers during the winter months below Kingsley Dam on Lake Ogallala. The Kingsley Hydroplant creates open water, which allows the eagles to fish for food. Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District maintains a public eagle viewing facility below the south end of Kingsley Dam. For the 2014 season, it is open weekends December 28 through early March, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. MST.
Photos courtesy of Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigiation District. Click here for more information on seasonal eagle viewing.