If you want to take part in an ancient avian ritual that takes place every March for about 6 weeks and involves hundreds of thousands of Sandhill cranes, then get over to the Platte River right now! For it is there that every March for millennia, Sandhill cranes which have left their over-wintering grounds in the Southwest from Arizona to Texas, stop en masse in the shallow Platte River to fatten up for the next stage of their migration north. Then, they make the next leg of their journey to their nesting sites in the far north of Canada, Alaska and even Siberia.
So where is this area that attracts thousands of Sandhill cranes every year? And why? Nebraska’s Platte River at the Big Bend, which is the part of the Platte River between Grand Island and Lexington, Nebraska is the favored spot. Originally in the midst of a tallgrass prairie, despite the conversion to cornfields around the river, the birds still find this spot ideal. Part of the attraction is that the river is wide, calm and shallow, as cranes like spending the night in a shallow river to remain safe from predators. They also find easy food in the cornfields and in the river and mudflats.
Check out this spectacular migration and get more details at Nebraska Flyway.