|Lillian Annette Rowe Sanctuary|
Managed to preserve the wide river channel, naked sandbars, and shallow water favored as roosting habitat by migrating sandhill cranes, the sanctuary attracts huge numbers of birds during the spring. Numbers of cranes in and around the sanctuary are estimated at 60,000. A quarter more of the sa...
Funk Waterfowl Production Area
|Description: One of the largest of the Rainwater Basins, and the largest WPA in Nebraska. As with other basins, Funk is a mix of open water, moist-soil wetlands, and grassland replanted to native species.|
Funk WPA is one of the best Rainwater Basins for wildlife viewing. Parking lots are located around the perimeter of the site, and gravel roads pass by all the different habitats. Funk is an excellent place to walk; featuring a 3-mile look hiking trail that begins at the central parking lot. The trail passes through semi-permanent and moist-soil wetland areas as well as restored tallgrass prairie.
Wildlife to Watch: Current thinking is that an “ideal” basin for migrating waterfowl has open water (as much as half its area); shallow wetland areas dominated by plants that waterfowl favor for food (smartweed or wild millet, for example); and is surrounded by upland grassland to provide nesting cover and to buffer the wetland from erosion and siltation. Funk Lagoon is a prime area, hosting hundreds of thousands of geese and twenty species of ducks during spring and fall migrations. In April and October, whooping cranes have stopped here. May through September are good months to view cattle egrets, great blue herons, black-crowned night herons, and common egrets. Thousands of shorebirds stop over here March through May and late July through September. Breeding wetland birds include eared and pied-billed grebes, yellow-headed blackbirds, great-tailed grackles, northern harriers, and common yellowthroats. May through August you may see cinnamon teal and white-faced ibises. Besides birds, Funk is home to muskrats, minks, and white-tailed deer.
Special Tips: There is an information kiosk at the central parking lot with maps, and an observation blind nearby overlooking open water and cattail marsh. A barrier-free wooden walkway takes you to the blind.
Ownership: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Size: 1986 acres
Closest Town: Funk
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: