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A pair of sandhill cranes fly into the sunset near Gibbon

A pair of sandhill cranes fly into the sunset near Gibbon, Nebraska.

The Pioneers Park Nature Center invites the public to participate in two bird-themed wildlife viewing trips in 2019. Registration is now open for both programs:

Sandhill crane trips

Space is limited for the Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9 trips, and the registration deadline is Feb. 8. Both trips depart at noon from Auld Pavilion, 1650 Memorial Drive in Antelope Park, and will return to the same location by 10:30 p.m.

The program fee is $100 and includes transportation, a meal and the cost of the viewing blind at Rowe Sanctuary. If the trip is canceled, the $35 reservation fee for the viewing blind is nonrefundable. Participants must have the ability to walk on uneven trails in low light.

Participants will first travel to the Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center near Wood River,  then to Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn for a meal. The group then goes to the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon for crane watching at sunset from a private viewing blind along the Platte River.

Greater prairie chicken tour

Participants will leave from Auld Pavilion at noon Friday, April 26, and return by noon Sunday, April 28. The program fee is $550 and includes transportation, two nights' lodging, prairie chicken and sharp-tailed grouse viewing, an eco-tour of a Sandhills ranch and meals.

Single rooms are available for an additional $100. Registration and a $250 deposit (includes a non-refundable $50 fee) are required by Jan. 11. The remaining balance is due by March 1. The deposit, minus the registration fee, is refundable until Jan. 11. The paid balance, minus the deposit, is refundable until March 1.

The tour takes participants to the Switzer Ranch near Burwell in the Sandhills, where they will experience the booming and dancing of the greater prairie chicken and sharp-tailed grouse.

To register, or for more information, contact the Nature Center at 402-441-7895 or naturecenter@lincoln.ne.gov.

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Assistant city editor

Shelly Kulhanek is assistant city editor.

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