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Spring Migration of the Sandhill Cranes

Home of the Sandhill Crane Migration

Each spring, more than 1,000,000 sandhill cranes converge on the Platte River in central Nebraska as they migrate north to their nesting grounds. This one-of-a-kind experience draws visitors – including avid birders, scientists, photographers, and casual tourists – from across the country and across the world.

Visit in March to see the most cranes.

The peak of the gathering occurs during the second half of the month. Towards the end of March, you might also catch a glimpse of endangered Whooping Cranes or take the opportunity to venture into the Nebraska Sandhills to watch the colorful mating rituals of the Prairie Chickens.

The largest crane roost in the world is near Grand Island, Nebraska

In 2014, the Crane Trust documented that a Platte River sandbar on their Hall County, Nebraska, property serves as the largest crane roost in the world during the sandhill cranes' spring migration. Sandhill cranes use same part of the river to roost on year after year during their mid-migration stop on the Platte River.

How to see the Sandhill Cranes

The Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center is your headquarters for the spring migration of the sandhill cranes. Their guided viewing blind tours are designed to get you as close to the cranes as possible without disturbing them. VIP experiences are also available with lodging provided by the Crane Trust in newly constructed cabins. A handicapped-accessible footbridge tour overlooks a smaller channel of the Platte River on the trust property

Download a self-guided sandhill crane tour map

Guided tours are available but not necessary to see the sandhill cranes. A public viewing deck is located on Alda Road along the Platte River, and gravel turn-offs along Platte River Road offer opportunities to view the cranes in cornfields as they feed midday. 

For a more customizable and longer crane-viewing experience, the Crane Cabin Retreat is available on one of the best stretches of river for crane viewing in the central flyway. 

Proud member of the Nebraska Flyway Partnership.

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