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Sandhill Crane Watch

Every year from late February to early April, over 600,000 Sandhill Cranes migrate on the Platte River valley in order to ‘fuel up’ before resuming their northward migration.
Start planning your trip today!

Experience One of the Earth’s Greatest Migrations!

UPDATE: The Kearney Visitors Bureau has been following the rapidly evolving news about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how these closures are effecting those wanting to view the Sandhill Crane migration. Although visitor centers like Ft Kearny and Rowe Sanctuary are not open at this time, there are still options for public crane viewing and self-guided tours.

Public Viewing 
Designated areas are provided for crane viewing for different times of the day.  Pull-offs provide opportunities for day-time viewing in the fields, while the Fort Kearny Bridge spanning the Platte River offers perfect sunrise and sunset viewing.
Learn More. 

 

 

UPDATE: Some flights have been suspended at this time, currently the Kearney to Chicago flight with be suspended starting April 1. Read the latest on the Fly Kearney website.

Kearney now offers daily nonstop jet service from Denver (DIA) and Chicago (ORD)! Book now at united.com.
Flights are operated by SkyWest Airlines.

What People Are Saying About the Cranes

Our staff can tell you how spectacular the Sandhill Cranes are all day long. But to remain unbiased, we asked people who have experienced the migration for themselves.

  1. What People Are Saying About the Sandhill Cranes
  2. Our First Trip To See The Sandhill Crane Migration
  3. The Incredible Sandhill Crane Migration
  4. A Traveler’s Guide of the Sandhill Crane Migration

Request your own 2020 Crane Watch brochure today!

Sandhill Crane FAQs

We want you to have a memorable and educational experience. So we’ve compiled a list to help you get started!
Learn More.

Not only is your crane experience our top priority, but we also want everyone else to enjoy theirs as well.
Make sure to read through our Crane Viewing Etiquette guidelines for your safety, the safety of others and the safety of the birds.

Feel free to call us at 308-237-3178 for any additional questions and we would love to help you!

 *EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED*

Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival: March 20-21, 2020

Bringing together hundreds of crane lovers from around the country to Kearney, Nebraska, to interact with a wide range of environmental speakers, take part in incredible birding trips, and, best of all, experience the world’s largest gathering of Sandhill Cranes!

Audubon Nebraska is excited to announce 2020 Keynote Speakers: Dr. George Archibald and Dr. Drew Lanham. Click here to see more Speakers and Speaker Bios.

Click here for more info and a complete schedule of events.

Other Birding Guides

Central Nebraska Wildlife Viewing Guide
Bald Eagles, prairie chickens, sharp-tailed grouse, black-tailed prairie dogs, hawks, waterfowl and more can also be observed in Central Nebraska. Nebraska’s Rainwater Basins is situated midway between wintering areas along the Texas Gulf Coast and southward, and breeding sites as far north as the Arctic. It serves as an important resting and refueling place to waterfowl.
nebraskaflyway.com
View Guide.

Travel the Winner’s Circle: The Spring Birding Trifecta
Spring in Nebraska is a magical time for birders. There are three unique opportunities to be experienced featuring the Sandhill Cranes, American White Pelicans and the Greater Prairie Chickens within a short drive from each other.
nebraskaspringbirding.com
View Guide.

Central Eagle Viewing
Central’s Eagle-viewing facility at the J-2 Hydroplant opens for the season on the end of December and will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. through February. Spotting scopes are provided and attendants are available to answer questions. J-2 is located about seven miles south of Lexington. Kingsley Eagle Viewing Facility is located on the south side of Kingsley Dam at Lake McConaughy. There is no charge to visit the facilities, but call ahead to make sure space is available.
CNIPPID Holdrege Office: 308-995-8601
J-2 Viewing Facility: 308-324-2811
Kingsley Viewing Facility: 308-284-2332
cnppid.com/eagles

Smithsonian.com: 500,000 cranes are headed for Nebraska in one of Earth’s greatest migrations.

Nature got it right with the cranes. They have been around since the Eocene, which ended 34 million years ago. Read More.

The sights and sounds of hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes:

Fast Facts

The spring migration population of sandhill cranes in the Central Nebraska Flyway is estimated at 650,000.

Height — 3 to 4 feet
Wingspan — 6 feet
Weight — 8 to 12 pounds
Color — Gray
Migration — 170 to 450 miles/day
Flight Speed — 38 mph
Mating — Begins at age 3 to 4
Eggs — 2 per year

For more interesting facts about Sandhill Cranes, visit Audubon Rowe Sanctuary or the International Crane Foundation website.