/ /

Sandhill Cranes

The Cranes Alighting at Sunrise
The Cranes Roosting in a Windy Cornfield

Each spring during their annual migration, fantastic sedges of Sandhill Cranes settle in for a few weeks at the confluence of the South and North forks of the Platte River in central Nebraska, on their way north to their summer nesting grounds. Hundreds of thousands of these large and noisy birds spend their days scavenging in the chopped-down cornfields, and as dusk nears, they alight in great flocks to return to the safety of the sand bars in the great river and roost for the night. With an Audubon Center and special viewing areas devoted to the birds and the conservation of this unique habitat, a great migration of birdwatchers and photographers has also become a popular annual event, with surprisingly large crowds jostling for position at dawn and dusk along the beautiful Platte River valley. Life on the farm goes on undisturbed amid the squawks, honks and screeches of the birds, and the squatting hordes that clutter the empty fields move freely about the broad, spare winter landscape. There’s a beautiful natural rhythm and ritual in the migration that’s woven into this rural community and has shaped the coming of spring here for generations.