The Cranes Are Back!

Warm weather and southern winds ushered thousands of Snow, Canada, and Cackling Geese back into Nebraska last weekend. As I was enjoying the day outside, their numerous flocks dotted the sky and showered the prairie with squeaky calls.  Later that day I was driving down a back road when I noticed a large gray mass covering half a corn field. As I drove closer I could hardly believe that it was made up of Sandhill Cranes! An over-eager flock of 50 was one thing, but a couple thousand?! I parked my car and spent the next hour filming, photographing, and enjoying their company. Finally some birds to share the winter with other than meadowlarks! I wonder if they realize a foot of snow is coming their way today…

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For readers who aren’t aware, every spring hundreds of thousands of migrating Sandhill Cranes stop along the Platte River in south-central Nebraska to rest and rebuild their fat reserves. By day they feed on waste grain in corn fields (which have replaced the wet prairies that the cranes historically fed in) and at night they roost in massive congregations on the sandbars of the shallow Platte River. This spectacle draws birders from around the world and is one of Nebraska’s claims to fame.

 

Categories Birds, Field Notes, NebraskaTags ,

8 thoughts on “The Cranes Are Back!

  1. I listen for that sound every spring. And run for the door when I hear it. We probably won’t see them for another month in northern Illinois. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. A great time of year. Looking forward to it. thanks!

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  3. Wonderful in-flight videos, very professional looking.

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  4. This is so cool! I live in Alda (just up the road from you). If you want to share the location, my email is pixelsmithy@gmail.com. Thx!

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    1. Hi Darren. I would assume they’ve moved on, but they were along W. Platte River Dr.

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  5. Barbara MacKinnon February 4, 2016 — 8:12 pm

    Evan – you write beautifully! Thanks for sharing.

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