2019 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!

On Thursday, April 5th, 2018, Crane Trust counted a photo-corrected 302,300 +/-24,000 Sandhill Cranes in the Central Platte River Valley between Chapman and Overton, Nebraska. On April 9th, they counted a photo corrected 238,100 +/-26,600 Sandhill Cranes.

Experience One of the Earth’s Greatest Migrations!

Book A Blind at Rowe Sanctuary
We highly recommend this option if you want an up-close viewing experience.
Viewing experiences include guided tours, indoor viewing, photography blinds and over night blinds, price ranging from $15 per person to $250 per person.
Learn More.

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.

Crane Excursion Adventure Bus
Thursdays thru Sundays, March 14-April 7
Larger Groups of 10 or more can customize a date/time
Includes Step-on Guide

Each Excursion will be a unique viewing Adventure and will last 2 plus hours with stops at the Rowe Sanctuary,  Fort Kearny and other crane viewing sites.     

Tickets can be purchased here or call 308-627-8086 for more information.



Kearney now offers daily nonstop jet service from Denver! 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 2019 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!

Audubon’s Nebraska Crane Festival: March 22-24, 2019

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 actress Lili Taylor as the lunchtime speaker on March 23, 2019 at the festival. Lili will join David Mizejewki in the lineup of speakers. Click here for 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.
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.
View Guide.

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.