Each spring something magical happens in the Platte River Valley: More than 80% (500,000+) of the world’s population of Sandhill Cranes converge on this critical sliver of threatened habitat. Millions of migrating ducks and geese arrive with them.
National Geographic named this annual migration event as one of North America’s two greatest natural wildlife phenomena, the other being Alaska’s Caribou migration. In 2014, the Crane Trust documented that a Platte River sandbar on their property serves as the largest crane roost in the world during the sandhill cranes’ spring migration. This one-of-a-kind experience draws beginning birders to scientists from across the country and across the globe.
The month of March is the best time to see the largest numbers of birds, although the peak of the crane migration occurs during the second half of the month. Towards the end of March, you might also catch a glimpse of endangered Whooping Cranes or venture into the Sandhills to watch the colorful mating rituals of the Prairie Chickens.
Nebraska is special to me. I’ve traveled far and wide, and coming to Nebraska, and seeing and hearing the cranes always restores my soul.
— Jane Goodall