Birds of Rowe Sanctuary

Northern Harrier/ Photo: Jerry amEnde
Northern Harrier/ Photo: Jerry amEnde

Over two-thirds of North America's birds are at risk of extinction from climate change. While we are best known for Sandhill Cranes and Whooping Cranes, Rowe Sanctuary is a continentally important area for birds and serves a stronghold for hundreds of bird species year-round. 

If you visit our prairie trails during the summer, you can spot birds that depend on grassland and wet meadow habitat such as Bobolinks, Western and Eastern Meadowlarks, Dickcissels, Grasshopper Sparrows, Northern Harriers, Sedge Wrens, and Common Yellowthroats. From our wetland boardwalk, you might be lucky enough to spot a Green Heron, or watch several species of Flycatchers, Vireos, and Woodpeckers, along with Yellow Warblers, Baltimore Orioles, Brown Thrashers, and Gray Catbirds as they make their nests. In the fall and spring, watch as migrating Swainson's Hawks soar overhead, sandpipers scuttle on sandbars of the Platte River, and warblers and sparrows such as the Fox Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Harris's Sparrow, and Lark Sparrow rustle in the leaf litter on our woodland trails. During the winter, check out our feeders from the Audubon center for sparrows and other winter residents, and then use our viewing scopes to search for waterfowl and other waterbirds on the river, or watch dozens of Bald Eagles that call Rowe Sanctuary their winter home. Check out our eBird Hotspot for recent bird sightings at Rowe Sanctuary. 

Several species that depend on Rowe Sanctuary require prioritization in conservation efforts because of threats like climate change and habitat loss. To help guide conservation planning efforts and inform best management practices at Rowe Sanctuary and throughout the central Platte River valley, we developed a priority birds list based on species that have small population sizes, important or sizeable populations within the Central Platte River Valley, small or diminishing ranges, and threats and/or declining population trends at the global, regional, or local level. Scroll down to learn more about our priority bird species. Click on each species to access the species profile on the Audubon Field Guide. To learn more about important habitats for these species across their range, visit Audubon's Bird Migration Explorer tool.

Priority Bird Species

Bald Eagle

Latin:  Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Illustration for Bald Eagle

Sandhill Crane

Latin:  Antigone canadensis

Illustration for Sandhill Crane

Whooping Crane

Latin:  Grus americana

Illustration for Whooping Crane


Latin:  Dolichonyx oryzivorus

Illustration for Bobolink

Grasshopper Sparrow

Latin:  Ammodramus savannarum

Illustration for Grasshopper Sparrow

Northern Harrier

Latin:  Circus hudsonius

Illustration for Northern Harrier


Latin:  Spiza americana

Illustration for Dickcissel

Western Meadowlark

Latin:  Sturnella neglecta

Illustration for Western Meadowlark

Least Tern

Latin:  Sternula antillarum

Illustration for Least Tern

American Kestrel

Latin:  Falco sparverius

Illustration for American Kestrel

Piping Plover

Latin:  Charadrius melodus

Illustration for Piping Plover

Northern Bobwhite

Latin:  Colinus virginianus

Illustration for Northern Bobwhite

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