The Writing of Great Plains Birds --

Where Do You Start 

by Larkin Powell 

The following information is used by the University of Nebraska Press to describe Great Plains Birds, a small book that is part of the Great Plains series, supported by UNL’s Center for Great Plains Studies. In my talk, shall we all pretend that we have been asked to write a book with the title “Great Plains Birds” for the casual observer or even for a tourist in the Great Plains? Where do you start? What birds should you include when limited by space? There are so many birds—many of them have historical, social, cultural, political, scientific, or personal reasons for inclusion in such a book. I hope we can have a lively discussion, and then we will see if your ideas match what I actually did in the book!


The Great Plains is a well-known and well-studied hybrid zone for many animals, most notably birds. In Great Plains Birds I have explored the history, geography, and geology of the plains and the birds that inhabit this area. From the sandhill crane to ducks and small shorebirds, I have explained migration patterns, showing how human settlements have affected the movements of birds. Historical maps and images have been used to illustrate 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 avians in North America. Conservation attempts are discussed along with how sporting organizations have raised funds to create wetland and grassland habitats for both game and nongame species. Check out page 2 in this newsletter for a 50 percent off announcement through October 30.


Larkin Powell is a professor of conservation biology and animal ecology in the School of Natural Resources (SNR) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also serves as an associate dean for experiential education for UNL’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Larkin teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on wildlife management and research. His research program focuses on landscape dynamics, animal demography and movements, and decisions made by private landowners in the Great Plains and throughout the world. Along with Great Plains Birds (University of Nebraska Press) which will be the focus of our October 8 Zoom program, he has written a textbook, Principles for Management of Fisheries and Wildlife: The Manager as Decision-maker, (Cognella). In his spare time, Larkin enjoys writing poetry, fishing, hunting, and photography. 


Join Wachiska on Thursday, October 8, at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom to learn about birds of our geographical area. This free, public program is available to those who register at the link above. You can copy and paste the link into your browser or go to Wachiska’s website and click on this link directly to register. You will then receive a confirmation with the meeting number and password. A few minutes before the program is to begin, use this confirmation information and you’ll be invited into the meeting.


Wachiska Audubon Society
4547 Calvert St. Suite 10 - Lincoln, NE 68506-5643
402-486-4846  - 

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