Birds of Prey Take Center Stage at Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center


Birds of Prey Take Center Stage This Saturday at Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center

Wood River, Neb–Hawks, falcons, vultures, and owls, oh, my! These amazing birds of prey that ply the Nebraska skies will star in a special live presentation this Saturday, March 9, at the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center. The presentation, titled “Nebraska Raptors”, will start at 11:00 a.m. and wrap up around 12:30 p.m.

birdAs part of the Crane Trust’s month-long “Wild About Nebraska” speaker and event series, the raptor program is open to the public, free of charge, and promises a rare, up-close experience for adults, families, and children of all ages.

Blake Hatfield of Raptor Recovery Nebraska will lead the program and demonstrate with live birds how these incredible hunters of the sky have adapted to become a vital part of the Nebraska landscape. Each has it’s place in the environment, and Blake will bring a live hawk, falcon vulture and owl from the program to demonstrate how well equipped they are to take their place near the top of the food chain.

The month-long Wild About Nebraska speaker and event series is a public celebration of Nebraska’s Great Sandhill Crane Migration, according to Crane Trust spokesman Jeff Oates, as more than 500,000 sandhill cranes descend on the Platte River in south central Nebraska every spring to spend 3-4 weeks, before continuing on to their breeding grounds in the north.

“We’re particularly excited this year to host our greatest variety of outstanding speakers and presentations yet for the month-long event,” says Oates. “When people talk about the ‘arts and sciences’, they’ll find both in full bloom this March at the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center.”

The complete line-up of events and upcoming speakers, dates and times are outlined below:

Sat, March 9
· Blake Hatfield, Nebraska Raptor Recovery Program, “Nebraska Raptors”, live bird presentation (11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
· Wine Tasting (Noon-4:00p.m.)

Sat, March 16
· Bill Frakes, Sports Illustrated & Outdoor Photographer, “Frakes Takes—My Life in Photography” (11:00 – Noon)
· Rick Rasmussen, Wildlife Photographer, “Outdoor Adventures in Photography” (1:00-2:00p.m.)
· Wine Tasting (Noon-4:00p.m.)

Sun, March 17
· Dr. Will Locke, Hastings College, “Rocky Mountain Headwaters of the Platte River” (2:00-3:00p.m.)
· Dr. Bill Beachly, Hastings College, “A Crane’s Eye View of Central Nebraska”
· Wine Tasting, Noon-4:00 p.m.

Sat, March 23
· Bill Wallauer, The Jane Goodall Institute Videographer, “Chimpanzees and Conservation” (11:00-Noon)
· Jorn Olsen, Jorn Olsen Photography, “Discovering the Uncommon Beauty of Nebraska’s Plains” & book signing (Noon-3:00 p.m.)
· Wine Tasting (Noon-2:00 p.m.)

Sun, March 24 1:00-5:00 p.m.
· Dr. Wade Harrell, newly appointed Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (12:00 p.m.)
· Dr. Barry Hartup, International Crane Foundation Veterinarian, “Whooping Cranes in the Wild and Captivity” (1:00 p.m.)
· Dr. Mary Harner/Greg Wright, Crane Trust, Update on Whooping Crane Research & Overwintering Sandhill Cranes (2:00 p.m.)
· Dr. George Happ, Emeritus Professor, University of Alaska-Fairbanks and Co-author of the Sandhill Crane Display Dictionary, “Primal Dancing and the Nurturing of Young Cranes” (3:15 p.m.)
· Dr. Aaron Pearse, USGS on Sandhill Cranes (4:00 p.m.)
· Rockbrook Camera/Video Showcase (11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)

Sat, March 30
· Blake Hatfield, Nebraska Raptor Recovery Program, “Nebraska Raptors”, live bird presentation (11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
· Dr. Paul Johnsgard, UNL professor, author, ornithologist, “Winter & Early Spring Birds of Nebraska (1:00-2:00 p.m.)

All events and presentations are open to the public and will be held at the Crane Trust Nature& Visitor Center near Wood River in south central Nebraska, I-80 Alda Exit 305. Visitors can also browse our fine art gallery and gift shop with Nebraska-made goods while they’re here. Guided crane tours for the public can also be reserved online at or by calling (308) 382-1820.

Established in 1978, the Crane Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and maintenance of critical habitat for cranes and other migratory birds along the Platte River through science, habitat management, community outreach, and education.

Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center / 9325 S Alda Road / Wood River, NE 68883

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