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Sandhill Crane Aerial Survey – Week 5 - 3/14/23

A roost of 717 Sandhill Cranes on the Platte River next to some ducks basking in the early morning sun of 3/14/23

We are in the thick of it here! This week on Tuesday 3/14/23, we estimated 457,800 +/- 28,600 Sandhill Cranes within the Central Platte River Valley between Chapman and Overton, NE. We saw Sandhill Cranes in every bridge segment this week as the total number of Sandhill Cranes doubled. The western stretch of the river is definitely filling up more readily now as numbers between Wood River to Overton increased 370% from last week. Whereas the numbers in the river between Chapman to Wood River are beginning to plateau. We estimate that next week will be peak Sandhill Crane migration for the Platte River as a whole. However after peak, the west will continue to see a rise in numbers even as numbers may start to decline in the east. This does not mean that crane season is coming to a close; large numbers of Sandhill Cranes stay into the first weeks of April. Also, Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday we experienced favorable southerly migration winds and we saw lots of new arrivals which would not be included in this week's crane estimate. However, the front that came in on Thursday will probably slow migration for a few days and keep the birds we have in the area from leaving soon.

Till next week,