Sandhill Crane Counts – Week 5

Andrew Caven, Lead Biologist

We saw a bump from just 5 days ago on our last count. We estimated 326,000 +/- 42,000 Sandhill Cranes roosting on the river or visible in the adjacent fields today from the flight path.  We also noted 13,000 Sandhill Cranes in the north channel between Wood River and HWY 34. Our modeling of count data since 2002 suggests that the eastern third of our survey area often peaks in Sandhill Crane abundance more than a week ahead of the western two-thirds of our survey area. We had very large numbers east of Wood River today, and good numbers west of Gibbon in places. However, we still expect to see more birds coming to western bridge segments. Our next flight will take place between March 18th and 22nd pending weather conditions.

*Data property of the Crane Trust: Please contact before redistributing.

Photo by K.C. King













  • Bobby Duehring says:

    We are visiting this coming weekend and very much looking forward to our annual trek to view the cranes. With luck, we’ll be able to see whooping crane too.

  • Sunny Mendelson says:

    We live in Ibis, W.Palm Beach, Fl. and have noticed a great decline in Sandhill cranes. We realize mating season is soon, can you explain our great decline in our beautiful cranes. We have an adult male that must have lost his mate and he comes to our house everyday looking for company, but we have hardly any now.

    • Crane Trust says:

      Contact your local biologists in Florida, the Florida Fish and Game Conservation Commission has some great biologists. Call your regional field office. Most good biologists know their local regions well. Florida is largely outside of our preview. The International Crane Foundation also does work there.

    • Jeanie Wu Donohue says:

      Dear Sunny,
      Any time even single Sandhill Crane passes away it is a great loss, not only for it’s lifetime mate but for all of us. If this bird was a Florida Sandhill Crane, this species is considered “Threatened”, just one step away from “Endangered” status, which puts them just a step away from extinction. There are only about 4,000 of these magnificent creatures in all of Florida, many of which live in Central FL.
      Just this year our City has started a Statewide organization called the Florida Sandhill Crane Preservation Society. If you love these great-hearted birds we would welcome you to join our efforts to protect them & to give them a voice!

      • Bruce Eichhorst says:

        FYI, the Florida Sandhill Crane is a subspecies Sandhill Crane. There are 5 subspecies of Grus canadensis.

  • Daniel Krueger says:

    I will be in Grand Island March 30-31. Will this be past the peak sandhill count this year?

  • Yana Jacobson says:

    We are considering coming to the Kearney area the weekend of March 24, a 5 hour drive for us. Do you expect there to be plenty of sandhills still in the area at that time? Thank you for any information.

  • Brian Kiefer says:

    I have spent the last few days watching the Migration of the cranes. I was blessed to see the whooping crane you had, Do you expect more whooping cranes for him to breed with or will he just stick with his sand hill family group?

    What is the current world count on Whooping cranes?

  • Richard Esker says:

    I plan to be in Nebraska April 17, 18. Will there be any cranes at that time?

  • N Kumar says:

    I am planning to visit Rowe Sanctuary, NE on 31st March evening. Can we expect enough crane on that day there or peak is already over?

  • J Ayars says:

    We will be passing through 1-80 on the morning of March 31, then heading south. Any recommendations on where we can best see cranes in the area? it looks like morning reservations for the Crane Trust are full. Can we visit without reservations?

    • Crane Trust says:

      Yes! Please stop by the Nature & Visitor Center. There is a lot to see there and our staff and volunteers can provide you information on the best viewing locations for that day.

  • MK Radtke says:

    What is the fall migration period?

    • Crane Trust says:

      Sandhill Cranes rarely stay for an extended period if at all in the fall. The earliest we typically see or hear cranes is late September and they’re typically gone by December.

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