Bird-spectacle notice: Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska
The time is near to see hundreds of thousands of cranes.
February 16, 2007
WAUKESHA, WI — One of the great wildlife spectacles in North America is about to start. Beginning in mid-February, hundreds of thousands of Sandhill Cranes will arrive along the Platte River between Kearney and Grand Island, Nebraska. And anyone can see them.
Soon, hundreds of thousands of Sandhill Cranes will crowd the Platte River in Nebraska on their annual migration to their breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. Click here
for a high-resolution image.
Photo by Ernie Mastroianni/Birder's World
The birds stand three to four feet tall, have a wingspan of six feet, and make a distinctive loud bugling call.
Editors available for comment
Birder's World magazine editors are available to discuss this event. To request an interview, please contact Matt Quandt at 262.798.6484 or email@example.com.
A must-see event
Author Scott Weidensaul, writing in the August 2006 issue of Birder's World, called going to see the cranes "a pilgrimage that every North American birder should make at least once."
The birds spend the winter in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and northern Mexico. They stop on the Platte River during their 2,000- to 3,500-mile migration to breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska, and even Siberia.
Their numbers build throughout March and peak about St. Patrick's Day. The cranes stay at the Platte into early April. As many as a quarter million cranes may be present at one time, and during the spring, about half a million will stop on the river.
Individual birds spend about 29 days in the area. They forage on corn left over from the previous year and eat earthworms and snails as well. Each bird gains a pound of fat — fuel for the remainder of its migration.
Your best bet for seeing Sandhills is to take a dawn or dusk crane-watching tour with Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon, Nebraska, or the Nebraska Nature & Visitor Center in Wood River, Nebraska.
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