Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

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. The bus tours are along the county roads of Lincoln County between North Platte and Hershey, in the heart of the Sandhill Crane feeding and loafing grounds.

Each tour includes 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.
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


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.

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.