Catch the Great Sandhill Crane Migration

This annual sandhill crane migration gathering is a must-see.
By Megan Phelps
February/March 2008
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Over 500,000 sandhill cranes visit Nebraska’s Platte River each March and April.

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For wildlife watchers, few sights can compete with the spring gathering of 500,000 sandhill cranes on the Platte River in Nebraska.

Every March and April, more than three-fourths of the sandhill cranes on the continent gather along a single 75-mile stretch of the Platte River in Nebraska as they pause to rest on their journey north.

The river is a crucial stop for the cranes as they travel from their winter grounds in northern Mexico, New Mexico and Texas to their breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada. The river valley provides sandbars for roosting as well as plenty to eat — mostly remnants of the previous year’s corn harvest.

Audubon Society's Rowe Sanctuary protects this critical habitat, and offers information on the best crane-watching vantage points. You also can watch online in March and April at National Geographic.

Megan E. Phelps is a freelance writer based in Kansas. She enjoys reading and writing about all things related to sustainable living including homesteading skills, green building and renewable energy. You can find her on .

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