Great Plains Birds


Great Plains Birds

Larkin Powell

Discover the Great Plains Series

224 pages
65 color photographs, 9 b&w photographs, 12 illustrations, 11 maps, 4 graphs, index


November 2019


$16.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2019


$16.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2019


$16.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

2020 Nebraska Book Award

The Great Plains is a well-known and well-studied hybrid zone for many animals, most notably birds.

In Great Plains Birds Larkin Powell explores the history, geography, and geology of the plains and the birds that inhabit it. From the sandhill crane to ducks and small shorebirds, he explains migration patterns and shows how human settlements have affected the movements of birds. Powell uses historical maps and images to show how wetlands have disappeared, how grasslands have been uprooted, how rivers have been modified by dams, and how the distribution of forests has changed, all the while illustrating why grassland birds are the most threatened group of birds in North America. Powell also discusses conservation attempts and how sporting organizations have raised money to create wetland and grassland habitats for both game and nongame species.

Great Plains Birds tells the story of the birds of the plains, discussing where those birds can be found and the impact humans have had on them.

Author Bio

Larkin Powell is a professor of conservation biology in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


"This informative book will be both a practical resource and enjoyable reading for nature lovers."—Publishers Weekly

"As a lifelong Nebraskan, biologist, and birder for over twenty years, I enjoyed how this book connected the history of the Great Plains at a millennium timescale with current bird migration patterns across the nation, stories handed down over the last several generations, and delightful bird behaviors into a fascinating narrative. After reading this book, I have a renewed sense of pride in and understanding of the Great Plains and the birds that call this place home."—Kristal Stoner, Nebraska History

“I started reading the UNL professor’s charming and edifying exposition on the birds that surround us on the plains at the tail end of last year and couldn’t put it down. So many fascinating bird facts tucked inside. . . . So many well-told tales. . . . The professor’s book is part of an eight-book Discover the Great Plains series published by the University of Nebraska Press. May they all be as entertaining.”—Cindy Lange-Kubick, Lincoln Journal Star

“From modern-day prairie birds (and where to see them), to geography, history, and conservation, this book is an excellent introduction for anyone wanting to learn more about the vast heart of America, the Great Plains. Wonders abound, if only we look.”—Joel Sartore, Photo Ark founder and National Geographic photographer and fellow

“Powell’s personal love for the Great Plains and its birds is contagious. This book plays a critically important role in raising awareness, building appreciation, and calling for conservation action for North America’s most threatened birds.”—Martha Kauffman, managing director of the World Wildlife Fund, Northern Great Plains Programs

“My high expectations were met when I read Powell’s book Great Plains Birds, but they were exceeded when I found myself laughing and living vicariously through his personal narrative. This book is honest and important and presents a clear-eyed view of bird conservation today in our heartland.”—Michael Forsberg, photographer and author of Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild

“With this book, you are accompanied by your personal storytelling guide while discovering this underappreciated region of North America. Wisdom on geology, natural history emphasizing birds, wildlife management, and history is offered in an engaging narrative.”—Gary C. White, professor emeritus of fish, wildlife, and conservation biology at Colorado State University

“This book entices and prepares readers to make their own personal connection to the heart of North America through its most inspiring occupants, Great Plains birds.”—Sarah Sortum, rancher and ecotourism provider

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
1. The Birds: Symbols of the Great Plains    
2. The Place: Homes, Habitats, and Aerial Highways    
3. The Problems: Humans and Birds on the Plains    
4. The Hope: Conservation Strategies    
5. The Experience: Visiting the Birds of the Great Plains    
Suggested Resources    


2020 Nebraska Book Award

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