Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Aronson," Observations of Late Fall Migratory Sandhill Cranes, Platte River, Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (March 1980) 48(1).


Copyright 1980, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


Observations of migratory Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) were made on the Platte River near Kearney, Nebraska. On 26 November 1978, night roosting in the Platte River occurred on thin ice (less than 2 cm) in open areas which were protected by riparian vegetation from cold north winds (35-40 km/hr-NNW, -10°C). Roosting Cranes were spaced very closely (less than 0.5 m) during evening and early morning hours, with increased spacing (about 1.0 m) occurring during late morning. A diagram of the roost area was prepared. The roost was located near the northern river bank in a river stretch characterized by low, herbaceous type "sandbar islands" (vegetation about 1 m or less in height). No roosting occurred on islands, but some Cranes at the periphery of the flock roosted in the lower one-half of the northern river bank, which supported vegetation from 1.2 to 2.4 m tall, primarily sparsely spaced willow trees and sunflowers.