Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version


Document Type



Lingle, "Another Common Crane in Nebraska with a Summary of North American Records," from Nebraska Bird Review (September 1996) 64(3).


Copyright 1996, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


On 30 March 1996 around 1000 h CST, Bob Janssen and Jim Williams of Minnetonka, Minnesota, discovered a Common Crane (Grus grus) feeding in corn stubble with a flock of Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) in Section 34 T9R10 Hall County, Nebraska. The Commom Crane associated with the Sandhill Cranes, which were at peak numbers in the Platte River valley. Later that day, several observers, including myself, witnessed the bird in section 32 about 500 yards away, where it mingled with a few hundred Sandhill Cranes. The difficulty in seeing this bird was illustrated by the fact that during a 2-hour period, it was visible for less than 32 minutes despite the fact that about 15 observers maintain constant vigilance on the spot where the crane loafed but was obscured by the Sandhill Cranes. It was seen only when it raised its head above the Sandhill Cranes.

The following morning (31 March 1996), Thomas Labedz and I located the Common Crane in Section 27 at 0845 h CST. It was feeding in corn stubble with a few hundred Sandhill Cranes. I was able to photograph the bird from a vehicle at a distance of about 300 yards using a 400 mm lens (Figure 1). The light was excellent and we were able to see its red iris and red patch on the back of its head through a spotting scope. We decided that it was an adult based on plumage characteristics. After about 20 minutes, the bird flew south about 1 mile and landed in corn stubble in section 3 with about 1000 Sandhill Cranes. Other people observed the bird that day as well. Scattered sightings of the Common Crane were reported through 8 April 1996, but they were not confirmed by photographs or other documentation.