birdwatching in Harlan County


Right in the center of North America’s central flyway, millions of birds of all shapes, sizes and species pass through this area every year. There are many opportunities for uncommon, unusual and interesting bird sightings in Harlan County.

birdwatching in Harlan County

upcoming events

Songbird Migration Apr. 1 to May. 15, 2018 more
Memorial Day Weekend May. 25 to May. 28, 2018 more
Oxford's Turkey Days Jun. 13 to Jun. 16, 2018 more
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Birding in Harlan County, NE

A prairie paradise for birds and birders

birding in Harlan CountyHarlan County Reservoir is one of the largest bodies of water within the North American Central Flyway and is a primary stopover for millions of migrating birds, including Bald and Golden Eagles, Osprey, ducks and geese including Ross' and Snow Geese, many species of gulls, and more, including an occasional sighting of a great Whooping Crane. Over 300 bird species have been observed in the area.  Parking lots, campgrounds, and local marinas around the reservoir make prime viewing sites.

Harlan White Pelican Watch, March 1 - April 15

view brochureArea residents know spring is just around the corner when the American White Pelicans begin returning from their winter feeding grounds along the U.S. Gulf Coast to take up temporary residence at Harlan County Reservoir.  Arrival dates can be as early as late February up through early April.  For a copy of our Pelican Watch brochure, click the view brochure button. 

Spring Fling, Paradise on the Prairie Art Show and Sale

The Alma Chamber of Commerce hosts their annual Spring Fling in March or April each year.  Activities typically include wagon rides, music, late night shopping, a community spaghetti feed and more.  The Paradise on the Prairie Art and Photography Show, Sale and Silent Auction is a popular new event started in 2010 that is expected to continue into the future.  Check our events page or contact the Harlan County Tourism office at 1-800-762-5498 or for more information.

Special Birding Seasons at Harlan Lake

- Bald and Golden Eagle viewing
- Duck and Geese migration (through mid-March)

- American White Pelican migration (through early April)
- Shorebird migration

- Songbird migration (through mid-May)

For more information on birding in south-central Nebraska, visit our friends at the Chicken Dance Trail, link opens in a new window

* pelican photos by Chris Mayne, eagle photo by Don Brockmeier