Wednesday, February 28, 2024

March is Sandhill Crane Season in Nebraska

The sights and sounds of Sandhill Cranes fill central Nebraska along the Platte River Valley (photo by Mark Washburn).

During March, the Platte River Valley in central Nebraska attracts the biggest concentration of cranes in the world, which creates an annual event for birders during Sandhill Cranes’ annual migration stopover between wintering and nesting ranges. It’s a natural event unlike any other experienced by many Americans in general, as well as birders who travel from East Asia, western Europe, and worldwide to experience a March celebration of cranes. Other migrating birds are abundant too, including a variety of geese, ducks, songbirds, and raptors. You even the possibility of seeing a rare Whooping Crane – or a flock of Whoopers! And during recent years some birders have delighted in seeing a far off-course Common Crane that would have migrated down the wrong side of the Pacific Ocean.

Two primary centers for interested birders to visit include the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at the Rowe Sanctuary east of the city of Kearny. In addition to the Center’s attractions, there are more than 3 miles of hiking trails for visitors to use. Learn more at Visit Our Center | Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary

A popular online attraction provided by the Audubon Center is their live crane camera, which people enjoy checking on, especially during early mornings and evenings after sunset – the best times to see and hear the remarkable flights of Sandhill Cranes are often best viewing times; see Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary's Crane Camera |

Nearer the city of Grand Island, the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center has spacious riverfront viewing blinds are positioned to provide spectacular vistas of “the largest Sandhill Crane roost on the Platte River.” Programs and activities are offered by Crane Trust throughout March, including photography workshops, a speaker series, an art open house, and more. The Crane Trust offers a variety of crane viewing opportunities including Public Crane Viewing Tours for sunrise or sunset viewing. You can even stay 1 or 2 nights in comfortable accommodations for a VIP Overnight Experience, plus Crane Trust members can also tune in from anywhere in the world for Virtual Crane Tours throughout March. Learn more at Overview : Crane Viewing : Visit : Crane Trust