Sandhill Crane Counts – Week 4

Andrew Caven, Lead Biologist

Our aerial count for this Wednesday morning was 406,000, with an absolute error of +/-13.5%. We had a strong tail wind this morning and flew the route at a significantly faster pace than usual, forcing us to count a large number of Sandhill Cranes under significant time pressure. I was only able to complete 2 photo subplots to estimate error because of this fast pace. In 2016 we exceeded 410,000 Sandhill Cranes on the river on March 14th. We crest the 400,000 mark this year 6 days ahead of last year.

*Data property of the Crane Trust: Permission required before use or distribution.


Sandhill Cranes Roosting by Alda Farms / Photo by K. King

Sandhill Cranes Roosting of Alda Farms / Photo by K. King





  • Robin Speakman says:

    We arrive Saturday from Illinois. Cant wait.

  • Mark. Sinclair says:

    I’m in NE March 14,15. Where can I view the sand hill cranes and photograph them. I’m in the area around gibbon +\- 40 miles

    • Crane Trust says:

      The Alda bridge overlook has a nice view. It’s not going to be insanely close. It’s on Alda Rd a few miles south of the interstate. I would arrive shortly after first light to see them. If you want a closer look there are photography blinds that can be booked through our website. They may all be booked up this year. You’ll also find them in the fields during the days.

  • Pam Orr says:

    since they peaked early this year and there is an impending snow storm coming will they take flight early to head on or beings they were so early will they have found as much of a nutrient load as they need yet? Thanks

    • Crane Trust says:

      Numbers could keep going up, we expect they will at least until next week. The population is growing, so it is feasible we have more SACRs coming through this year. When the Cranes come early they tend to stay longer and do not necessarily leave that much earlier. There are a lot of risks on the breeding grounds up north, including large shifts in temperature that could negatively impact the SACRs if they arrive on the breeding grounds too early. They will be here until the beginning of April in large numbers minimally.

  • Cindy Baker says:

    What happened to the wonderful crane cam. Can’t find a link on your web site

  • John E Nahorny says:

    Do you have any live feeds, or thought about installing live stream cameras out there?

  • M. Liesack says:

    We were going to bring our children this weekend March 17-19 during Spring break. Will the cranes be gone by then?

  • Wendy Effle says:

    Will be there Saturday morning, the 18th. Can’t wait. Even more excited now that I’ve watched the video here on the website.

  • george howell says:

    Are there still a large amount of birds around

  • Marlene Koslowsky says:

    I have been wanting to get up there since years back when I mistook sandhill cranes for geese flying over my house here in Georgia. Finally knocked out stuff that got in the way and will be up there next Thursday through Saturday. To say I am excited would be an understatement. Cannot wait!

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