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The Great Plains is a huge, mostly treeless area of prairie and grasslands in the middle of the United States. It includes parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma, and all of Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. Its industries include farming, ranching and manufacturing. Huge rivers such as the Missouri, Arkansas, and Platte, flow through the heart of the Great Plains. These rivers and their wetlands are important habitats for many kinds of migrating birds such as ducks, geese, cranes, and gulls.


The Great Plains area is the native home of the American bison. Millions once roamed the plains before they were settled in the 1800s. The number of bison, however, fell drastically by 1900 until there were only a few hundred left. Prairie dogs, badgers, coyotes, and burrowing owls are among the wildlife that live in the Great Plains. The area is sometimes called "Tornado Alley" because most of the nation’s tornadoes occur here.