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Sandhill Crane Migration in Midwest 2025

Half a million feathered travellers take a break during their spring migration to feed and rest at the Platte River

Best time: mid-February–mid-April

Sandhill Crane Migration
Sandhill Crane Migration
Sandhill Crane Migration

Sandhill cranes migration across North America is considered one of world's largest animals' movement that goes in range with well-known wildebeest, and caribou migrations. It involves from 400,000 to 600,000 individuals, which is 80% of world's cranes population overall.

Hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes enjoy the coolness of their nesting grounds in Rocky Mountains of North America and Canada, as well as Alaska, and even Syberia. But when summer is over, they set off on a far journey to the warmer southern lands of Texas, Arizona, Chihuahua, New Mexico, and Mexico.

It's difficult to trace them during their autumn migration, as they don't take any serious breaks. However, on their way home in spring they are not so hasty.

The cranes stop by for 4 to 5 weeks in the wetlands of San Luis Valley in Colorado, and along the Platte River in Nebraska, the latter is known as the most famous sandhill cranes spotting place. The birds feed on cornfields and roost on shallow waters, so the best time to observe the spectacle is either sunset or dawn.

Sandhill cranes arrive in 3 waves, starting from mid-February and the last group leaving in mid-April to continue their long journey to the north. The record numbers of sandhills is usually observed in late March.

Practical info

When can Sandhill Cranes be spotted in the Midwest?

From mid-February to mid-April, Sandhill Cranes can be observed in the Midwest during their migration journey. They make a stopover in the wetlands of San Luis Valley in Colorado and along the Platte River in Nebraska. Late March is the ideal time to sight these birds in large numbers. Show more

Where is a renowned spot to observe the Sandhill Crane migration in the Midwest?

The Platte River in Nebraska is widely known for offering an excellent opportunity to observe the Sandhill Cranes' migration. Here, these birds can be observed feeding on cornfields and roosting on shallow waters. The best time to view them is at sunrise or sunset. Show more

What is the approximate number of Sandhill Cranes that migrate?

Around 400,000 to 600,000 Sandhill Cranes participate in the annual migration, making up approximately 80% of the cranes' population globally. Their migration is one of the largest animal movements worldwide, along with wildebeest and caribou migrations. Show more

For how long do Sandhill Cranes halt at the wetlands of San Luis Valley in Colorado during their migration journey?

The wetlands of San Luis Valley in Colorado serve as a stopover during the Sandhill Cranes' Spring migration, and they typically stay for about 4 to 5 weeks. These wetlands provide an optimal environment for the birds to rest and feed on cornfields before continuing their journey South. Show more

What is the primary source of food for Sandhill Cranes during their migration stopover in the Midwest?

During their migration stopover in the Midwest, Sandhill Cranes rely heavily on cornfields as their primary source of food. These birds feed on corn and rest on shallow waters, providing safety and a plentiful food source. The wetlands of the Midwest offer an excellent feeding ground for these birds before they undertake the journey to their breeding grounds to the North. Show more

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