Friday, October 22, 2010

Whooping It Up on the Platte

After the Watchable Wildlife Conference in Kearney, we visited the Iain Nicholson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon, Nebraska. Situated along the Platte River, the sanctuary is located in the heart of the sandhill crane staging area where mind-boggling numbers of birds can be viewed during their spring migrations northward. Populations of sandhill cranes in these gatherings tally in the hundreds of thousands at their riverine roosts, and the spectacle of the birds' dawn and dusk commute to feed in nearby agricultural fields and wet meadows brings in birdwatchers from around the world. Rare and endangered whooping cranes are also found among the migrating crane populations.

Director Bill Taddicken and his wife Autumn welcomed us to the Center, instructed us on current land management strategies for the Platte River ecosystem and wildlife habitat, and vividly recounted the amazing crane rendezvous and chorus. We were also intrigued by the energy conserving features of the straw bale construction system that was used in the Iain Nicholson administrative and education building. It's a great facility for learning about and witnessing a spectacular annual migration.

We look forward to the prospect of a springtime visit to the Rowe Sanctuary, and hope you'll be at the rendezvous.

Peggy + Barrett
Leave No Trace e-Tour 2010

e-Word: "endangered"

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