All about sandhill cranes

Have you ever heard of Kearney, Neb.?

In late February through early April, the Platte River Valley is the most important stop over for the Sandhill Cranes. At least 80 percent of the world’s population of Sandhill Cranes gather on Nebraska’s Platte River Valley around Kearney in a  spring migration that is estimated at 600,000 cranes.

Cranes epic journey starts in spring from northern Mexico, Texas, Mexico and New Mexico, and it flies over a thousand miles to Kearney to rest and refuel as the cranes prepare to journey to Canada, Alaska and Siberia. When the cranes fly to Nebraska to rest and graze, they nearly gain 10 percent of their body weights. The cranes sleep standing in the shallow river at night to have protection from the predators like coyotes. 

The Sandhill Crane of North America hasn’t significantly changed in 10 million years. The cranes are the world’s oldest living birds. They are one of the planet’s most successful life-forms, outlasting millions of species (99 percent of species that ever existed are now extinct). 

The cranes are gray, 3-4 ft tall with a wingspan of 6 feet, and weighs 8-12 pounds. During migration they fly 170- 450 miles per day, with a flight speed of 38 mph. Mating begins at 3 to 4 years of age, parents and lay two eggs per year. 

For 50 years, the Nebraska crane festival has been a destination for hundreds of wildlife lovers to experience the arrival of Sandhill Cranes.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.