The Great Migration

March is finally upon us.  Unfortunately, here in Nebraska, Spring is a little late in coming.  The cold and snow is slowing down the one of the biggest shows the state has to offer which is,  the migration of the sandhills cranes.

For those that don’t know about the migration, each year 650,000 cranes will come across Nebraska and rest near Kearney.  It is an AMAZING sight. If you like birdwatching you need to make a trip to the Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon. The first time I saw the magnitude of these birds I was in awe.  The sky is literally filled with birds and the sound is unbelievable.

The Rowe Sanctuary also has guided outdoor viewing of the birds.  The best time to see the birds are at sunrise and sunset. I was fortunate to view them on a beautiful, Spring evening.  The Nebraska sunset was outstanding with its colors of orange, yellows and red. Seeing the birds circling above as they landed in the river was like watching a tornado.  It was mesmerizing and really touched your soul.

Along with the sandhills cranes, you might get lucky enough to see a few of the rare Whooping cranes.  These birds are starting to make a come back after being on the endangered list. I’m happy to say that to numbers of the Whooping crane have gone from only 15 in the 1940’s to around 600 now.  

Along with the Cranes, you will see Canadian geese, snow geese, and ducks of all kinds.  If you are lucky, you will also get to see the king of the birds…the bald eagle.

Bald eagles have made a tremendous come back since they were on the endangered list in 1978.  It was estimated there were less than 400 breeding pairs. When the eagles were taken off the endangered and threatened list in 2007, there were more than 9000 breeding pairs!

The Bald Eagles migrate to Nebraska from October to May.  I have seen quite a few around my area. They are a wondrous sight.  The eagles like to stay close to open water where they are close to a food supply.  One place that you can visit is the J-2 Hydro plant south of Lexington Nebraska. The best time of the year to view the eagles are February and March.  

If you happen to be traveling through Nebraska soon, make sure you stop in and check the Rowe Sanctuary or the Hydro Plant.  You can also visit the Game and Parks website for more information

You will be amazed at the beauty of nature.