Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring Migration 2012

Sandhills Crane
As we move into spring, the season of the migration; approximately 185 species of birds will migrate through this area and an additional 115 species will stay here to nest in the Platte River Valley according to local authorities. This year many are here about two weeks early. There are thousands in fields, on the river and lakes and in the air. It's noisy, beautiful, and spectacular all at the same time. Below is a live web cam link which should be quite amazing in the morning before the birds leave to forage and again in late afternoon and early evening when they are beginning to roost for the night.

Migrating birds have been flying over the ranch for days now and sometimes for up to 10 minutes for one formation to pass over! You can see why it is so spectacular --- thats alot of birds. This morning when Mark first went outside he heard migrating birds nearby that sounded like they were still on the ground, so we grabbed the camera and went to find them. Not far from home, we found the snow geese and the Canadian geese in a field and this is what we saw...
From a distance, they looked like a grey and
white line...

As we got closer, they began lifting off the ground...

They are in the air moving north...

Pictures don't do justice to the experience. This migration of tens of thousands of birds in our area of Nebraska brings people here from all over the world.

The Common Crane of Europe
visiting NE this year
This year people have spotted an usual bird for Nebraska... the uncommon Common Crane.  It is typically located in Europe, and the species summer nesting grounds are in the Russian Arctic. For some reason, this bird got mixed up with a group of Sandhill Cranes, and has people from all over the country flocking here to see the rare sight.

I've seen the migration for several years now and I never get over the awe that these creatures fly such great distances every year...and in such huge numbers.

Nebraska Game and Parks says..."Witnessing the gathering of half a million cranes under a blazon Nebraska sunset stirs our senses and sparks our imagination like few experiences can. What better way to rejuvenate your spirit than with the sights and sounds of such a spectacle with a cold March wind slapping your cheeks?"

"Cranes are among the oldest living birds on the planet. Fossil records place Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska more than nine million years ago, long before there was a Platte River, which, by comparison, is only a youthful 10,000 years of age. The landscape then was savanna-like and its inhabitants were more like that of modern East Africa; varieties of rhinos, camels, and elephants long since extinct. Yet cranes survived and watched as American bison, pronghorn, and wapiti evolved on the prairies. Humans now dominate the landscape having replaced the bison with cattle and the prairie with corn and concrete. This startling transition occurred in less than 150 years, a mere blink of an eye in geologic time!" For more, read at

Watch this video called Crane Song to hear the cranes.

Those of you who know me know that I am a bird lover and am extremely concerned about the health of our environment not only for us now but also for the birds as well as our children's future. I'm not against progress but I do want us to be careful and respectful of our environment. It is becoming a passion for me. This is paradise for a bird lover and I want to see it continue for years and years to come.

Our goal is to live fully in each season and here in south central Nebraska, this is the season of the magnificant bird migration.

1 comment:

Sandi said...

Hi Delores,
Great story about migration and the birds. Found it interesting that you have someone from New Dehli reading your blog.