Spring Magic in Nebraska (March 30 – April 2, 2017)

Each spring, more than 80 percent of the world’s population of sandhill cranes converges on Nebraska’s Platte River Valley.  Along with them come millions of migrating ducks and geese in the neighboring Rainwater Basin—covering the vast expanse of open sky with millions of flapping wings and a chorus of calls. At the same time, in the grasslands of Nebraska, male sharp-tailed grouse and greater prairie chickens are vying for the attention of hens. Their raucous lek displays include clucks, whoops, gobbles, exposed tail coverts and balloon-like air sacs flashing orange and yellow. Get ready for spring magic in Nebraska!


Below are some of our sample itineraries, but note that we can customize the perfect United States adventure that meets your needs.


Sample Itinerary

DAY 1 (Thurs, March 30): Denver to Kearney (Platte River and Rowe Sanctuary) ~ Morning carpool departure from Denver for drive to Kearney, Nebraska with birding en route. This evening, we’ll head to Rowe Sanctuary along the Platte River in time to watch sandhill cranes return to their evening roosts during a blind session. Rowe Sanctuary’s viewing blinds are strategically located along the Platte River to provide excellent views of cranes. Overnight at Hampton Inn or similar. (PL,D)

DAY 2 (Fri, March 31): Kearney to Switzer Ranch Prairie Reserve ~ Wake up early this morning and head to the Platte River in time to see thousands of sandhill cranes fly from their evening roost to feed in the fields nearby. Enjoy time for birding along the Platte before heading to Switzer Ranch Prairie Reserve located near the town of Burwell, Nebraska. The American Bird Conservancy has described Nebraska’s Sandhills as “the best grassland bird place in the US”. Switzer Ranch employs modern, cutting edge stewardship practices to conserve native prairie and the wildlife it support and is one of the first ranches in the area to explore ecotourism. Overnight at Switzer Ranch. (B,PL,D)

Nebraska ranch

DAY 3 (Sat, April 1): Switzer Ranch Prairie Reserve ~ Today begins early with a visit to a greater prairie chicken or sharp-tailed grouse lek on the ranch. Observe outstanding dancing displays by males as they try to move up in the social hierarchy and gain the attention of hens. After breakfast, explore the ranch during a guided 4×4 Jeep tour while learning firsthand why these grasslands are globally significant. Overnight at Switzer Ranch. (B,PL,D)

Day 4 (Sun, April 2): Switzer Ranch Prairie Reserve to Denver ~ Start your day with a second lek visit at the ranch. After breakfast, head back to Denver with time for birding en route. (B,PL)




Meals: B=breakfast; PL=picnic lunch; D=dinner

Price: $795* based upon double occupancy.  Single supplement: $265* (subject to availability).

Price includes accommodations, guided birding, activities and meals as listed in the itinerary. A donation to ASGD will be made on behalf of all trip participants.

Exclusions: fuel (to be split among participants).