Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



The Nebraska Bird Review, Vol. 86 No. 4 (2018), pp 175-180


Published by the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Inc.


In this report we discuss observations of Sandhill Cranes remaining in the Central Platte River Valley until early June 2018 and discuss potential explanations for this extended stay into the breeding season.

We detected two pairs of adult Sandhill Cranes in two different locations on 15 May 2018 (Table 1). We then detected three injured adult Sandhill Cranes in a third location on 16 May 2018 (Table 1). Two of the three Sandhill Cranes each had a missing leg and the third crane’s leg was broken above the tibiotarsal joint; however, all were still capable of foraging and flight. Later, on 6 June 2018, a Sandhill Crane was reported to the Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center north of our survey area near Grand Island, Nebraska (Sandpit Lake, Table 1). In all, Sandhill Cranes were located in nine distinct locations throughout the CPRV from 15 May 2018 to 07 June 2018 (Table 1). Considering their temporal and spatial occurrence, we estimate that there were seven to eight unique individual cranes present in the late May to early June period (Table 1). However, without making assumptions about their movements, there could have been a significantly higher number of Sandhill Cranes present (Table 1). They were detected in a diversity of habitats including lowland tallgrass prairie and wet meadow (Table 1; for habitat definitions see Currier 1982, Harner and Whited 2011). Sandhill Cranes were generally detected within 2 km of the Platte River (x̅+SD = 1.19+1.28 km).