Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

COVID-19 Statement from Dusty Trails

Thank you so much for your support of our Sandhill Crane and Prairie Chicken tours. As a small business owner just getting started in offering these wildlife viewing opportunities, I appreciate your booking very much.

The Dusty Trails Sandhill Crane and Prairie Chicken tours are small groups. The capacity for the bus tours to the Crane and Prairie Chicken viewing sites is 8 and the river viewing blind is 9. This will provide ample opportunity to enjoy these experiences while safely maintaining the recommended social distancing.

In addition, we will provide hand sanitizer for all of our guests and will thoroughly sanitize all of the surfaces in our bus and the blind between tours. We will be screening our visitors for signs of illness – sneezing, coughing, fever – and also ask them to self-screen. Should anyone exhibit signs of illness, we would ask them to postpone their visit to the 2021 season.

Should you decide that you do not want to travel this year, we will honor your reservations for the same tour in the 2021 season.

Thank you so much for your understanding. We are looking forward to helping you to experience the amazing spring birding opportunities here in North Platte.

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Each spring the most incredible migration event in the world passes through the North Platte, Nebraska area. More than 200,000 Sandhill Cranes will spend about six weeks in the Platte River valley fortifying themselves for the nesting period to come. While they are here, they will engage in beautiful courtship and pair-bonding behaviors.

Courting cranes are magnificent as they stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air in a graceful and energetic dance. Parents will dance with their chicks for the entire first year of their lives. Juvenile Sandhill Cranes will use the complex dance steps they learned to select a mate when they are two to five years old. They will mate for life, though continue to show their affection to their mates each spring with their dancing prowess. The energies and, dare we say emotions, released during the dancing rituals are essential to successful breeding.

These graceful, exuberant rituals can best be observed while the Sandhill Cranes are in the feeding and loafing grounds, which are the meadows and crop fields within five miles from the river.

Sandhill Crane Viewing Tours

To aid you in your experience of the Sandhill Crane migration, Dusty Trails LLC, your outdoor specialists in North Platte has developed tours during the most active time of the day for the Sandhill Crane courtship behaviors. These tours are scheduled from 2:45pm until approximately 5:00pm.

The Sandhill Crane Tours are scheduled Saturday and Sunday March 14 and 15, and then daily March 20 – through April 8.

Each tour will depart from the Visitor Center at 101 Halligan Drive in North Platte and will include a round trip through the Platte River valley between North Platte and Hershey. The tour will linger along the rural roads wherever there are large groups of Sandhill Cranes so that you can observe, video and photograph as much as you would like.

While on the tour, you will be treated to information about the Sandhill Cranes, their migration and behaviors you may observe in the fields.

The transportation for the tours is a converted school bus that will be warm and dry and afford elevated visibility for Crane viewing. You will be supplied with a welcome bag including a snack and a water bottle. Some binoculars will be available to share.

Each tour size is limited to 18 individuals. For larger groups, please contact Dusty Trails LLC Outdoor Specialists at 308-530-0048.

Some binoculars will be available to share, but please feel free to bring along your own to enhance your experience, as well as whatever photography and videography equipment you would like.

Adult tour prices are $35.00 per person; Children ages 5 – 10 are half price ($17.50). Children 4 and under are free. To book your tour, click here: 2020 Sandhill Crane Migration

For more information on experiencing the Sandhill Crane Migration in the North Platte area, contact the Visitors Bureau at 800-955-4528.

Click this link to download the Sandhill Crane viewing guide. 2020 Sandhill Crane Viewing Guide

Click on this link to book your Sandhill Crane tours today! NPCraneTours.Eventbrite.com

 
 
 
 

Private Guided Viewing Blind

Dusty Trails LLC, your outdoor specialists in North Platte has partnered with a landowner along the North Platte River to place a Crane viewing blind near a large roost.

Crane Viewing Tour Start Times:
6:00am – March 7 & 8, 14 & 15, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30, April 1, 3 & 5
6:00pm – March 7 & 8, 14 & 15, 20 – 29
6:30pm – March 30 – April 5

All tours are accompanied by an experienced guide. The morning blind tours will involve walking into the blind in complete darkness and remaining in the blind until all of the birds have left the river, approximately 8:30 or 9:00am. The evening blind tours will involve walking into the blind before sunset and remaining in the blind until full dark, approximately 9:00 or 9:30pm.

The Tours will depart from the North Platte Visitor Center at 101 Halligan Drive. Please plan to be at the Visitor Center a half hour prior to your tour time to allow time to drive to the blind. Late arrivals cannot be accommodated.

Some binoculars will be available to share, but please feel free to bring along your own to enhance your experience, as well as whatever photography and videography equipment you would like. Please note, unless you purchase a separate experience in a photography blind, tripods are not allowed. No flash photography is allowed, and no flashlights are allowed. Your guide will lead you to and from the blind.

There will be two small (1-2 person) photographer blinds available which will provide better opportunities for photography. These must be purchased in addition to a regular tour ticket. The cost for a photographer blind is $20.00. Please note: Once in the unheated photographer blind, you will not be able to exit until your guide comes to get you.

Though the viewing blind is enclosed and heated, it will still be very chilly. Warm, seasonally appropriate clothing is a must. Hats, gloves, thermal underwear, heavy coats and outerwear and sturdy boots are recommended.

The maximum number of individuals that can be accommodated in the blind is 15. Tour prices are $35.00 per person; Children under 10 are not allowed in the blinds.

Click on this link to book your Sandhill Crane tours today! NPRiverBlind.Eventbrite.com

Please enjoy these hotel partners for your stay:
North Platte Super 8 – Birding Rate $62.00 plus tax for any room type. Contact the Super 8 directly at 308-532-4224
Holiday Inn Express – Birding rate 99.95 plus tax. Contact the Holiday Inn Express directly at 308-532-9500
Best Western Plus – Birding rate 89.95 plus tax. Contact the Best Western Plus directly at 308-534-3120