Pressure : 29.71 in
Dewpoint : 66.9 °
Wind : South
Warmer temperatures and the drought have somewhat delayed the migration process this year for the Sandhill Cranes. But the cranes have begun their journey as they head south for the winter. And that could mean a potential stop here in Central Nebraska.
Along with the Sandhill Cranes, the Whooping Cranes are also making their way through and Nebraskans are asked to be on the lookout.
An observation deck along the Platte River is a popular spot this time of year for bird watchers as they watch the Sandhill Cranes make their way from Canada to Texas, but the Crane Trust in Wood River is asking for your help in spotting some unique cranes.
"The Whooping Crane is an endangered bird," said Crane Trust Director Brad Mellema.
In the late 1940's, about a dozen Whooping Cranes were left in existence. They were declared endangered in 1967.
"Conservation efforts were started to rehabilitate the population and so to this day we're up to about 300 which still isn't very many birds," said Mellema.
Around this time every year, the Whooping Crane, along with the Sandhill Crane, make their way from their nesting habitat in Canada to their winter retreat in Texas.
"This is the most unknown portion of their life cycle. We don't know what habitats are important to them. We don't know a lot of times where they're eating or what their requirements are," Mellema said.
About 30 of the Whooping Cranes have been geo-tagged so researching can better understand the cranes.
"What that allows our researchers to do is to find out exact paths that these birds are taking and we're finding out more information now than we ever have about the Whooping Cranes during their migration," said Mellema.
These birds stand about 5' tall with a 7'8" wingspan. Their red crown, white feathers, and black wing tips clearly define these impressive creatures.
The Crane Trust does ask that anyone who does spot one of those Whooping Cranes call them at 1-888-399-2824 and report the location where that bird was spotted.
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