Experience a unique moment in time with
Dances of Cranes LLC
People are ready for winter's end. For those who live in Garden County, there's a bright spot. They await the great migration. Ears perk for the first calls of the Sandhill Crane, sometime around Valentine's Day. Soon after the first arrivals, their numbers swell and their collective song reverberates throughout the land. Join us in welcoming the Sandhill Cranes!
In Garden County, Nebraska, the North Platte River is the stop over for tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes, and the only wild band of rare, endangered Whooping Cranes. This river valley is known for the wide array of bird species which converge here for days, or weeks. during migration. Ornithologists have counted many hundreds of species every Spring. It is an event to behold...hands down for those who revel in joyful noise!
For thousands of years, each Spring, the skies over the Platte River fill with bird calls. Millions of ducks, geese, cranes and many other bird species migrate through the Central Flyway. which is shaped like an hourglass, the narrowest part converging at the Platte River Basin. Ecologists say this is one of the world's greatest wildlife spectacles.
Sandhill Cranes are noted for their elaborate courtship displays. Two displays are used to form mating pairs, while three other displays occur only between mates and serve to maintain the pair bond. They frequently preen with vegetation and mud, stained with iron oxide resulting in a reddish brown color rather than their natural gray. Most species have specific terms by which they are referred when they gather in great numbers, but not the Sandhill Crane. They have many collective nouns including a construction, a dance, a sedge, a siege and a swoop of cranes. They are also the oldest known bird species still surviving - a crane fossil was found that was dated approximately ten million years old.
We would like to share our unique, rural perspective of the Sandhill Cranes . . . the way a local farmer/rancher experiences this event. Since this part of the North Platte River is such an important respite for the cranes, we are focusing on a small scale, low key approach. We will hear clucking, chirping, whistling, chirring as they prepare for an early morning lift off to fallow fields, where they feed through the day.
The generosity of local landowners, ranchers, community
members and those who simply love this area combined
efforts to bring the hearty avian fan a unique moment in
If you plan to stay overnight, we encourage you to
stay near the Village of Lewellen. Beginning March 1st through
March 9th we will rendezvous at the Lewellen Lodge at 5:00 am.
From March 10th through March 31st (due to the time change)
we will rendezvous at 6:00 am again, at the Lewellen Lodge.
We must be inside the blind well before daybreak.
Please keep in mind:
This is, in some respects, a stealth operation. The cranes
are extremely alert.
It will be cold, dress accordingly.
Avoid windbreaker (nylon, polyester, etc.) corduroy and
other materials that are noisy with movement.
It will be dark, we will provide you with small lights.
No perfume, soaps, colognes, chewing gum, laundry soap,
fragrance. Scent free!
We will have to be very quiet from entry to exit.
No restrooms available.
No food will be allowed, however, beverage will be provided.
For additional activities: