Cranes Foraging — Platte Basin Timelapse

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Here’s another great article from Platte Basin Timelapse (Sierra Harris). Here’s an excerpt:

Sandhill cranes migrate north in the spring from their wintering grounds, located in Texas, eastern New Mexico, northern Mexico, and occasionally from southeastern Arizona. The migration path they use is known as the Central Flyway, in which south-central Nebraska’s Platte River Valley is the pinch in its hourglass shape. This small area is known for its critical habitat needed for sandhill crane survival.

Each spring, between late February and mid-April, about 500,000 sandhill cranes arrive to the Platte River Valley to utilize its abundant resources. This stretch of the central Platte is one of the most important staging areas in North America for millions of migrating waterfowl, including about 80 percent of the world’s population of sandhill cranes.

Sandhill cranes fly approximately 300 to 500 miles a day, and some migrate a total of more than 10,000 miles annually. They use the 80-mile section of the central Platte to rest and refuel before they continue their journey north to breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, western Alaska, and northeastern Siberia. Cranes roost in the shallow, wide river channel from dusk till dawn for up to six weeks. After their night of rest, flocks disperse to adjacent cornfields and wet meadows to refuel during the day.

Sandhill cranes. Photo: Scott Helfrich/Audubon Photography Awards

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