Sandhill Crane Counts – Week 8

Andrew Caven, Lead Biologist

Given low cloud ceilings and morning fog we missed week 7 of surveys this year. However, we squeaked out week 8; this past Tuesday morning we were up before sunrise and completed a count. We counted 117,000 Sandhill Cranes with a relative error of -14.0% suggesting the actual number was just over 133,000 SACRS. There are still a number of Cranes persisting off the Crane Trust’s Alda property and a roost in front of Shoemaker Island, but the vast majority of Sandhill Cranes are west of the Crane Trust at this point as the Lesser Sandhill Cranes in the western part of the hour glass of the central flyway make their way through the Big Bend of the Platte River on their long migration north. We will have 1 to 2 more weeks of counts left. If the count next week is below 5,000 SACRs we will be done for the year. However, if it exceeds that number we will also count the Tuesday after Easter to finish out our 10 weeks of Sandhill Crane counts. It was another intense and interesting migration as they all are. It appears that there is still excellent Crane viewing in the Western part of our survey area between highway 10 and Gibbon. Until next week.

Mormon Island beginning to green up in spots. / Photo by A. Caven












  • Roger E Kiemele says:

    Still worth the drive to your area to see the Cranes next week?

    • Crane Trust says:

      There’s still over 100,000 but with the good weather this weekend chances are they’ll start leaving. Try to get there in the next two days and you should still see good numbers.

      • Ruth says:

        We came here from Iowa today, and cannot find any. Where are they?

        • Crane Trust says:

          Driving the river road south of the interstate between Alda and Kearney or driving between highway 30 and the interstate (on the north side of the interstate) will provide the best opportunity of viewing cranes that have not taken advantage of the south winds as they advance their migration towards their nesting grounds. Also, when it’s this late in the season, Rowe Sanctuary is a good area to target.

  • Diane Hanger says:

    We will be driving through the first week of May, driving westward to Laramie and beyond. Is there any chance any cranes will remain, and if not, where would their next stop be?

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