Registration is now open for the Pioneers Park Nature Center's trip to central Nebraska for a guided viewing tour of the Sandhill crane migration. The tour begins at noon, Thursday, March 19 at the Wild Bird Habitat Store, 56th and Highway 2, and returns at 11 p.m. to the same location.
"To experience the Sandhill crane's migration, to see them soar above the river and dance together in the fields, and to hear their unique call is a show like no other," said Jamie Kelley, a Naturalist at the Nature Center.
Space on the trip is limited, and reservations are required by February 19. The cost of $75 per person includes bus transportation, dinner and a viewing blind reservation. The $25 blind reservation fee is non-refundable if the trip is cancelled or if a participant cancels and a replacement cannot be found. Participant cancellation is also subject to a $5 cancellation fee. To register or for more information, contact the Nature Center at 402-441-7895 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The group will travel to the Nebraska Nature and Visitor Center in Wood River and then to the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon, where they will view and hear the cranes from a viewing blind as they arrive on the Platte River. The trip will include periodic stops along country roads to view cranes as they feed and dance in the fields.
Sandhill cranes are among the world's oldest living birds and have traveled through Nebraska for centuries. They are dependent on an 80-mile segment of the Platte River for a four- to five-week stopover because of the food and protection in the area. The cranes come from as far south as Mexico and will travel as far north as eastern Siberia to raise their young. Over half a million Sandhill cranes will make their way through Nebraska this spring. Some of the best viewing is at sunset when the cranes flock by the thousands to spend the night at the river.