The birds gather by the thousands along the Platte River. Photo Credit: Sarah Kuta

Animals North America10. March 2023

Watch Thousands of Birds Peck Around in Their Month-Long “Pit Stop”

Sandhill cranes migrate yearly from Mexico, Florida, Texas, and Arizona to Alaska, Canada, and eastern Siberia… and lucky bird watchers can see thousands of them gather for a whole month in Nebraska along the way!

“You will most likely hear [the cranes] long before you see them. The call of sandhill cranes can be heard at tremendous distances. To me, it is sound that stirs the spirit,” writes columnist Rick Windham for the North Platte Telegraph.

The cranes are counted weekly during the migration period, in part to allow biologists to track migratory trends over time. At the end of February 2023, roughly 27,000 sandhill cranes had already arrived in Nebraska. Here, they can gain as much as 20 percent of their body weight before continuing their migration north. Viewing decks and guided excursions are available to allow for safe viewing of the impressive bird spectacle.

Smithsonian Magazine

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