Each spring the most incredible migration event in the world passes through the North Platte, Nebraska area. More than 400,000 Sandhill…
2023 Sandhill Crane & Prairie Chicken Tours: Tour schedule and tickets will be available on December 15th, 2022!
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.
To aid you in your experience of the Sandhill Crane migration,Dusty Trails LLC, your outdoor specialists in North Platte has developed tours during the most active time of the day for the Sandhill Crane courtship behaviors.
All tours include a round trip through the North Platte River valley between North Platte and Hershey. The tour will linger along the rural roads wherever there are large groups of Sandhill Cranes so that you can observe, video and photograph as much as you would like.
While on the tour, you will be treated to information about the Sandhill Cranes, their migration and behaviors you may observe in the fields.
The transportation for the tours is a converted school bus that will be warm and dry and afford elevated visibility for Crane viewing. You will be supplied with a welcome bag including a snack and a water bottle.
Some binoculars will be available to share, but please feel free to bring along your own to enhance your experience, as well as whatever photography and videography equipment you would like.
Click here to book your Sandhill Crane Bus Tour!
Dusty Trails LLC, your outdoor specialists in North Platte has partnered with a landowner along the North Platte River to place a Crane viewing blind near a large roost.
All tours are accompanied by an experienced guide. The morning blind tours will involve walking into the blind in complete darkness and remaining in the blind until all of the birds have left the river, approximately 8:30 or 9:00am. The evening blind tours will involve walking into the blind before sunset and remaining in the blind until full dark, approximately 9:00 or 9:30pm.
Some binoculars will be available to share, but please feel free to bring along your own to enhance your experience, as well as whatever photography and videography equipment you would like. No flash photography is allowed, and no flashlights are allowed. Your guide will lead you to and from the blind.
Though the viewing blind is enclosed and heated, it will still be very chilly. Warm, seasonally appropriate clothing is a must. Hats, gloves, thermal underwear, heavy coats and outerwear and sturdy boots are recommended.
Click here to book your Morning or Evening Sandhill Crane Blind Experience
In the spring the hearts of the Nebraska Greater Prairie Chickens turn toward love. To successfully attract a female mate, the male Prairie Chickens must impress them with their dancing prowess. Males will gather in large numbers on dancing grounds known as leks. They will cackle, jump and stomp their feet, sometimes scuffling with a rival. Then they will scrunch down and inflate their bright orange neck sacks and emit an eerie booming sound.
The ladies on the other hand will observe the shenanigans circumspectly, examining the prospects with a critical eye. However, if they see something they like, they may come forward for a brief, flurried assignation.
Dusty Trails LLC will host an excursion to a large and busy Prairie Chicken lek located south of Sutherland. Visitors will be transported to the lek by bus or van, a trip of about an hour. Coffee, juice and breakfast pastries will be provided on the bus. Feel free to bring your own refreshments, but please, no alcoholic beverages.
Though the viewing blind at the lek is enclosed, it will still be very chilly. Warm, seasonally appropriate clothing is a must. Hats, gloves, thermal underwear, heavy coats and outerwear and sturdy boots are recommended.
There will be some binoculars to share, but feel free to bring some to enhance your viewing experience, as well as whatever video and photography equipment you would like. Flash photography and additional lighting is strictly prohibited.
Click here to book your Prairie Chicken Tour!