23 March 2010

Celebrating Cranes

At this time of year over a half million sandhill cranes congregate 
on the Platte River in Nebraska on their migration northward.  
This is truly one of the great bird migrations in North America.

Due to the hourglass nature of their migration pattern, the cranes
end up concentrating in central Nebraska during the month of March 

allowing for fantastic viewing opportunities of this large flock.

Dawn on the Platte River

The cranes roost overnight on the gravel bars in the 
Platte River.  This provides them protection
from predators, mainly coyotes.  
During the day they fly out to nearby farm fields 
to feed on waste corn leftover from last year's harvest.

Sunrise in the blind

There are various blinds set up along the river in which 
to view and photograph the cranes without disturbing them.  
Observers must enter the blinds before sunrise or in the early evening 
before the cranes return to the river to avoid spooking them.

Sandhill cranes leaving the river in the morning to feed in nearby fields

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