The Raptor Center loves stories on all birds. We wanted to share this great article from Smithsonian magazine on sandhill cranes.
Every year 400,000 to 600,000 sandhill cranes—80 percent of all the cranes on the planet—congregate along an 80-mile stretch of the central Platte River in Nebraska, to fatten up on waste grain in the empty cornfields in preparation for the journey to their Arctic and subarctic nesting grounds. This staging is one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles, on a par with the epic migrations of the wildebeest and the caribou. It takes place in three waves of four to five weeks each, beginning in mid-February and ending in mid-April, during which birds that arrive emaciated from wintering grounds in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Chihuahua, Mexico, gain 20 percent of their body weight.
Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon, Nebraska hosts a crane cam. The cranes are viewed here in early morning, before they take off to feed for the day, and at dusk, when they return to the stretch of the Platte River for their evening roost.