Registration open for Sandhills birding tour |

Registration open for Sandhills birding tour

The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway (SJSB), Nebraska Highway 2 from Grand Island to Alliance, is honored to be home to some of the world’s most significant spring time rituals. For the residents, it is calving, but for the bird enthusiasts, it is the Sandhills crane migration along with approximately 150 other migratory bird species traveling overhead.

In the center of the SJSB is another birding ritual carried out by the prairie chickens and the sharptail grouse. Known as ‘booming’ the males puff up their plumage and dance to entice the females on leks, small areas that have been the sight for this spectacle for generations. “If you do not have a lek, you will probably never have one,” stated Mitch Glidden, co-owner of Sandhills Motel and Glidden Canoe Rental with his wife, Patty. Mitch works with area landowners to bring visitors to see this amazing birding ritual. Those that have viewed the cranes settling on or rising from the Platte River, agree that the booming of the prairie chickens and the grouse ranks right up there in world class natural wonders.

The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway with a grant from Nebraska Environmental Trust is proud to offer for the first time a three-day, 2 night ‘Wings Over 2 Bird Viewing and Adventure Conference’ on April 12 through 14th. Cost is $175, including meals, travel to the leks and other sites of interest to birders and presentations by world renowned photographer Bill Frakes, UNL Professor Mary Bomberger Brown, and Wildlife biologist Greg Wright, USDA Forest Service.

Lodging is on your own at Sandhills Motel, Double R Guest Ranch or the Carter-Morris House, Mullen or the Roadside Inn, Arrow Motel, Thedford. One can register by Eventbrite which will include an $8.07 service fee to the $175. They can save the service fee by sending a check made out to the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway to the Sandhills RC&D, POB 28, Mullen,NE 69152. Registrations are fully refundable until April 1, then $50 will be deducted. For complete information,

–Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway