Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Chicken Dance Trail

As I was rushing through the Phoenix airport earlier this month, a series of ads for Toyota caught my eye and now I wish that I had slowed down enough to at least have snapped a picture of them. They were touting the numbers of people in various categories, comparing it to the number of Americans employed within Toyota. One of those was 200,000+ Nebraskans who are bird watchers.

I’ve been in several Nebraska towns and have seen a growing interest in bird watching both for local Nebraskans and as a tourist draw for the national and international bird watchers. As I told them at the time, “Bird watching is the fastest growing spectator sport in the USA. Towns that are now focused upon birdies in golf might be more interested in other birds in the future.” It is a trend that we are actively studying.

Two sisters, Nancy Herhahn and Betty Sayers recently started a website dedicated to birds in SW Nebraska. They call it the Chicken Dance Trail, named after the unique mating dance of the Great Prairie Chicken in which males raise their ear-like feathers above their heads and inflate orange sacs on the sides of their throats. The sisters also host another website focused upon a rural Nebraska lifestyle at Nebraska Rural Living.

If you aren’t looking at bird watching as a tourist attraction, you should be.

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