Hi all, it’s Charlie, the Crane Trust Saunders Conservation Fellow and I have very exciting news! Federally endangered whooping cranes have made it to central Nebraska on their fall migration path!
I got to head out with our science team for the first whooping crane behavior survey of this fall. This was my first ever whooping crane sighting! Two whooping cranes and two sandhill cranes stopped over to feed and get ready for the rest of their journey south.
It was amazing to observe their feeding, flying, and social interactions. I knew that whooping cranes measure around 5 feet tall with a 7-foot wingspan, but it was awesome to see how large they really are in person. They truly are magnificent birds.
While on whooper watch, we use scopes and binoculars from a distance so as not to disturb the birds. We regularly take down behavioral information, ecosystem details, and the presence of local disturbances. Getting as much data as possible is critical for gaining insight into whooping crane biology, behavior, and migratory patterns.
We’re keeping an eye out for more whoopers that may come through, so stay tuned!
If you spot a whooping crane:
1. Do not approach!
2. Remain in your vehicle or established viewing area while observing.
3. Stay at least 2,000 feet (~0.4 miles) away.
4. Avoid flushing the birds up or causing them to alter their normal behavior.
5. Refrain from discussing the location of the birds with the public or media until they have migrated from the area.
6. Report the sighting to conservation teams working to protect these birds. You can report to one of the following:
The Crane Trust at (308) 224-9653
US Fish and Wildlife Biologist Matt Rabe at (308) 382-6468x205 or (308) 379-5562
By visiting the Nebraska Game and Parks Website and reporting your sighting online here: https://bit.ly/3TpConZ
We want to make sure they have a safe and fulfilling stopover.