Birding Hotspots for Spring Sandhill Crane Migration

Sandhill Cranes gather by the thousands during migration and there are some birding hotspots where you can find them.

Most birders are familiar with the sounds of a passing flock of Sandhill Cranes during migration and many of us have seen them fly right over our house. Unfortunately, they are typically high up and the view isn’t great. There are birding hotspots, however, where you can find thousands of Sandhill Cranes staging before and during their migration back the the breeding grounds in the spring. Here are some of the best!

You can find Sandhill Cranes in large numbers at these birding hotspots.You can find Sandhill Cranes in large numbers at these birding hotspots.
You can find Sandhill Cranes in large numbers at these birding hotspots.

1. Platte River, Nebraska

The Platte River is famous for their incredible concentrations of Sandhill Cranes. During 5-weeks each spring about 500,000 Sandhill Cranes pass through the area! For more information on this areas, visit The Nebraska Game and Parks website.

This is just a small sample of the type of flocks you might find at these birding hotspots.This is just a small sample of the type of flocks you might find at these birding hotspots.
This is just a small sample of the type of flocks you might find at these birding hotspots.

2. Goose Pond FWA, Indiana

Goose Pond FWA in southern Indiana hosts a large numbers of Sandhill Cranes each spring as well as a festival to celebrate them, Marsh Madness, during early March. Don’t worry if you miss the festival, plenty of cranes will still be around through the middle of March.

3. Bosque del Apache NWR. New Mexico

This National Wildlife Refuge is well-known for its wintering population of Sandhill Cranes and host a great birding festival to celebrate them, Festival of the Cranes. In addition to thousands of Sandhill Cranes, there are amazing numbers of Snow Geese in the area.

Have you been out birding in search of Sandhill Cranes yet this year?

Rob Ripma
Rob Ripma, a lifelong Indiana resident, has traveled and birded extensively throughout the Americas.