MARCH MAGIC: Nebraska Crane Migration

by Lynn & John Salmon <>{

We visited Kearney, Nebraska for spring migration. Kearney is located at the bottleneck of the Central Flyway, an area where a great many bird species fly back and forth between their northern nesting areas and their southern winter habitats. The Platte River, which flows west to east across Southern Nebraska to the Missouri River, is a favored stopping point for many birds on their journey north. Hi-lites of the brief birding trip included Sandhill cranes, Snow geese, Prarie chickens, and Sharp-tailed grouse.

Cranes are among the oldest living birds on the planet. A crane fossil found in northeast Nebraska is estimated to be 10 million years old. Sandhill cranes winter in the Southwestern US, Mexico, and the Gulf Coast and nest in central and Northern Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. Going north in the spring, they have to eat heartily in preparation for a long flight into the arctic where little or no food is available. Cranes prefer to sleep standing in a stream about 6-8 inches deep. If they're standing in water, they feel the water rippling against their legs and are warned if a predator such as a coyote enters the water.

Scenes from Kearney (March 13-16, 2019)

Prarie chicken lek at Switzer Ranch (March 15, 2019)

Sharp-tailed grouse lek, Switzer Ranch (March 16, 2019)

WINTER BIRDS seen in NEBRASKA (March 13-16, 2019)

March Magic: Nebraska Crane Migration

Lynn & John Salmon <>{