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Sandhill Crane: Nebraska’s Majestic Migration

Flocks of Sandhill Cranes

Something is happening in Nebraska on the Platte River, that is heralded as one of the greatest natural spectacles in the US.

Every year around Valentine’s day, culminating in March and on through to April, hundreds of thousands of Sandhill Cranes congregate on the Platte River (South Central Nebraska), forming huge flocks and using the sandbars as a nighttime roost.

This Spring migration, which can start as far away as Mexico ends up with the birds scattered across the northern US and into Canada in search of their breeding sites; and can be upwards of 1000 miles (with a distance of some 350 miles covered daily).

It is apparently an awe-inspiring sight to see these large, graceful creatures, with a wingspan of up to 7 feet and distinctive red ‘eye-patch’, take to the air en-mass at dawn, their grey plumage lit gold in the sunlight, to feed in the nearby cornfields during the day.

It is not only the cranes, but many millions of other migratory birds such as ducks and geese (including over 2 million snow geese alone) and a surprisingly large number of bald eagles. Added together this is truly deserving of the description ‘one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on the continent’.

Check out these links for more info:

Snow Geese in flightSandhill Crane in flightBald EagleSnow GeeseSandhill CraneBald Eagle
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