The cranes descend on a 30-mile stretch of the Platte River between late February and early April to rest and refuel while migrating north to summer breeding grounds. It is the world's largest gathering of sandhill cranes (approx 500,000), along with 10 million mallards, northern pintails and snow geese. Bird lovers descend on this area from as far away as Tokyo and Tasmania according to my "1000 Places to See Before You Die" book!
While we didn't get up before sunrise to see the flocks take off from the river to feed in local farm fields, we did drive a few back roads and enjoy groups feeding, flying overhead and even watched the comical long legged mating dances. If you every have a chance to pass through the area on I-80 in the spring, take a few moments to view the birds. You don't even have to leave the interstate to see them!
|One of the 'locals'|