Sandhill Crane Migration in Nebraska

Spring break. The time for heading to warm climates and relaxing. Since I have the dubious honor of still “celebrating” spring break, I decided to take my own vacation. I got up at 5:00am everyday, stood in the cold for up to 2.5 hours without talking, and got to see one of nature’s most amazing migrations – the sandhill cranes staging along the Platte River between Kearney and Grand Island, Nebraska.

The cranes are coming from the south and headed as far north as Siberia. They stop in this area to feed for about a month; they put on 2-3 pounds of weight before they wait for a warm, southerly wind and take off. The waste corn in the fields seems to be a favorite treat. The cranes roost in the river at night, gathering in huge groups at sunset and then taking off in the morning near/after sunrise. They trill and warble loudly – they talk to each other. All in all it’s a pretty amazing sight (and sound).

Here are some of the photos from the blind at Rowe Sanctuary. At the bottom is a short clip. The production of the video isn’t great, but the sound is there.

If you want to watch the cranes, check out the Crane Cam. Keep in mind, the cranes are in the area from mid-February to early April, so it’s a limited window.

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6 Responses to Sandhill Crane Migration in Nebraska

  1. Kristin – These are fantastic images and this post really helps to capture the experience. Thank you!

  2. Joyce Conard says:

    We have all learned a great deal about the sandhill cranes. Thanks for sharing the pictures and the sounds of the cranes!

  3. Tom says:

    I see them up here in Wisconsin and have always wanted to go to Nebraska to see them, the sheer volume must be magnificent. Thanks.

  4. Riot Kitty says:

    Cool. A bunch of posts just now showed up in my RSS feed, sorry it took me so long to get here.

  5. Wow, some stunning images. Worth the cold and early mornings?

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