Sandhill Cranes Migration

Each spring the most incredible migration event in the world passes through the North Platte, Nebraska area. More than 400,000 Sandhill Cranes will spend about six weeks in the North Platte River valley fortifying themselves for the nesting period to come. While they are here, they will engage in beautiful courtship and pair-bonding behaviors.

Courting cranes are magnificent as they stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air in a graceful and energetic dance. Parents will dance with their chicks for the entire first year of their lives. Juvenile Sandhill Cranes will use the complex dance steps they learned to select a mate when they are two to five years old. They will mate for life, though continue to show their affection to their mates each spring with their dancing prowess. The energies and, dare we say emotions, released during the dancing rituals are essential to successful breeding.

These graceful, exuberant rituals can best be observed while the Sandhill Cranes are in the feeding and loafing grounds, which are the meadows and crop fields within five miles from the river.

To aid you in your experience of the Sandhill Crane migration, Dusty Trails, your outdoor specialists in North Platte has developed tours during the most active time of the day. On these adventures you will witness the Sandhill Crane courtship behaviors in the cornfields throughout the day.

Dusty Trails also offers private viewing blind excursions at sunrise and sunset, which allows you to see the Sandhill Cranes taking off from the riverbeds to begin their day or returning to the riverbeds to roost for the night.

There are also several public viewing opportunities available that are free of charge such as the North Platte City Blind, the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park Blind, and the North River Wildlife Area.

Because of the varied geography of the area around North Platte, there are also some stunning drives that will give you wonderfully diverse nature and bird viewing opportunities. You can check out some of our planned routes or just set off down the road in search of new sights and sounds. Using your car as mobile viewing blind on rural roads can also get you a great view of the Sandhill Cranes.

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