North American Crane Working Group


Date of this Version


Document Type



Castrale, John S. and Bergens, James. Status of sandhill cranes in Indiana. In: Ellis, David H., ed., Proceedings of the Eighth North American Crane Workshop, 11–14 January 2000, Albuquerque, New Mexico (Seattle, Wash: North American Crane Working Group, 2001), p. 220.


Reproduced by permission of the North American Crane Working Group (NACWG).


Historically, the sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) was considered a common migrant throughout Indiana and a locally abundant breeding bird in northwestern Indiana until 1929. Most of the Eastern Population of greater sandhill cranes (G. c. tabida) is thought to congregate each fall at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area before migrating to Florida and Georgia. Systematic weekly fall counts began in 1967 and annual peak numbers have increased from 2,500 in 1967 to 27,600 in 1997, with a record count of 32,600 in 1991. Fall migrants are noticeable by late September, peak in mid-October through mid-November, and most depart by late December. In recent years, maximum counts have shifted about 2 weeks later from late October to mid-November. More cranes appear to be overwintering in Indiana with some reported on Christmas Bird Counts annually since 1983. Recent nesting was documented in 1982 in extreme northeastern Indiana and is likely the result of expanding populations in nearby Michigan. The current nesting population consists of about 30 or more pairs distributed throughout the northern 2 tiers of counties, with most records concentrated in the northeast.