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Crane Watching

The Cranes

About Hall County, Nebraska
Every year nearly one half million Sandhill Cranes (90% of the world's population) migrate through the area, beginning to arrive in February, their numbers peak in late March. The sight of the migration is truly an amazing sight to behold that few other natural events can rival.

The cranes gather in the Platte Valley region of Nebraska, including Hall County, primarily due to the Platte River and the many corn fields that dot our landscape. It has been said that the cranes consume about 1600 tons of corn during their stay. An ancient species, Sandhill Cranes have been in this area for at least nine million years. They are a resilient species that has adapted from foraging for aquatic plants to a diet consisting primarily of corn. With the addition of fields of crops bordering the Platte River, the Sandhill cranes enjoy a plentiful bounty.

During their month-long stay, each crane will pack on two pounds (one-third of their weight) from their high-energy diet, precious calories needed for their travels north to their Arctic breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia.
In more recent years the migration path of the cranes narrowed to an 80-mile stretch of the Platte River, and we are very lucky to be in that path. Spectacular views of the cranes are enjoyed by visitors and residents alike.
The Sandhill cranes are a protected species in Nebraska, even while being hunted in most other states along their migration route. Nebraska recognizes the crane's significance as a treasured natural resource as well as an important tourist draw, and as such, the annual migration through our state will continue to be protected. Visitors to the area will find local resources geared specifically towards the viewing of the cranes as well as many other tourist attractions and amenities.
We welcome you to visit our wonderful county to see the annual Sandhill Crane migration for yourself! We're blessed with beautiful natural resources in Hall County and look forward to sharing our county with you. To plan your next trip to Hall County, please call the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-658-3178.

Photos: ©Mark Urwiller