Sandhill crane migration slows, but is still impressive

Cold weather may have delayed some of the cranes on their journey, but many are already in Nebraska.

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KLKN) – Sandhill cranes are a fickle bunch of birds. After last week’s cold snap, their migration to the western reaches of Nebraska has slowed a little, but it certainly hasn’t stopped.

“They do come every year, and they’ve been doing that for a million years, so they’re incredibly reliable that way, but you can’t set your watch to them”, sums up Dusty Barner.

Barner owns Dusty Trails, an outdoor adventure service located out in North Platte. One of their services is sandhill crane tours, making Barner a real expert on these birds. He explains that the wind, the temperature, and just about anything else will influence where the cranes can be seen and how many you may spot. That said, many cranes are already in North Platte, despite the cold. However, there is more to experience than just cranes.

“The prairie chickens are incredibly reliable. Very dependable”, Barner says. “They show up at the same place every day, no matter the weather.”

It seems you can set your watch to the prairie chicken. And if you haven’t seen them before, they’re quite a sight.

“It is really something to watch them dance. The different calls, the sights, the sounds”, chuckles Barner. “You can’t believe the amount of sounds, the variations of sound that come out of those prairie chickens.”

Want more? Alright, how about pelicans, geese, ducks, and eagles? They’re all around this time of year, and even though you may have signed up for a tour just to check out the cranes or the chickens, Barner says there’s always time to stop and check out the other wildlife.

“The number of birds that they have found in the Lincoln County area, it just blows your mind that there could be that many species of birds in the area”, says Barner.

With that in mind, yes, there’s plenty to see out west, even if a bit of cold weather did slow things down just a little.

Categories: Nebraska News, News