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Spring arrivals: Birding in central Kansas
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There are spring migration visitors ay Cheyenne Bottoms. They include seven of the endangered whooping cranes and, as photographer Dan Witt described, lots of pelicans. - photo by Photo by Dan Witt

If you ever wondered what type of birds are at the Cheyenne Bottoms, right now is the best time to go out and take a look. This time of year draws many birds from all over as they migrate through Kansas on their way to points northward.
“Early spring is a great time to get out and do some bird watching,” Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager Jason Wagner said. “Practically every species of bird that migrates to the bottoms is here right now. Even though some will only have a short stay, it is still a great time to see that special bird you have been looking for.”
Bird enthusiasts have spotted scores of pelicans and seven of the endangered whooping cranes at Cheyenne Bottoms.
According to, Kansas has some big surprises in store for visiting birders. For one, this state is known for swaying wheat fields and tornados. It is also home to two of the most important stopover sites for migrating shorebirds in the world — Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area.
Kansas has recorded 460 bird species within its borders, ranking 16th in the country in terms of having the most birds.
“We are lucky to have the Bottoms right here in our own backyard,” Wagner said. “The Bottoms is very important for migrating birds; it gives them a place to rest and feed as they make the journey across the country.”
Between March 29 and April 24, birdwatchers may also observe the greater prairie chicken mating dances called leks from a viewing blind at Cheyenne Bottoms. The Kansas Wetlands Education Center is the venue for the lek tours, which start around 5:30 a.m. The tours are full for all dates except April 21 and April 24. Registration is $25 per person. Call the KWEC to register; the toll-free telephone number is 877-243-9268.