Crane Viewing at Sunrise on the Platte River

March 21, 2015

Cranes at dawn from the blind at the Rowe Sanctuary

Cranes at dawn from the blind at the Rowe Sanctuary

Sandhill cranes on the Platte River at sunrise

Sandhill cranes on the Platte River at sunrise

“Soon after the sun fires the horizon, the crane armies rise in stupendous celebration, crossing the black winter trees along the river . . . . an exaltation of life . . . when the sandhills rose in thunder, swirling and climbing and parting into wisps and strands in the fiery suffusions of the sunrise.”  — Peter Matthiessen, The Birds of Heaven: Travels with Cranes

Yesterday morning we got up at 4:30 a.m. to drive in the dark to the Rowe Sanctuary, where we had reserved space in one of their blinds on the Platte River.  We waited as quietly as possible for the sunrise, and then saw the cranes come to life.  They left the river in small groups, headed for the corn fields and their day of fattening up.

This was definitely a multi-sensory experience.  The cranes vocalized nonstop from our arrival before dawn.  Thousands of crane voices, rising to the new day.  Wonderful.


3 Responses to “Crane Viewing at Sunrise on the Platte River”

  1. Elisa Says:

    Wow!! i had one fly over me in a parking lot last March, and I thought a dinosaur had appeared! Or, that my mind was doing something awful! I got others in the parking lot to look up, I bet it was a sight just seeing everyone stop in their scurry to ooo and ahh. I cannot image what it would be like to be in the presence of so many at one time. I am glad that they didn’t eat you!

  2. shoreacres Says:

    What a wonderful experience. I’m going to try and figure out if there’s a way for my aunt to see this. I can’t imagine her in a blind before sunrise, but perhaps there are other viewing opportunities that would do for someone in her 80s. If I’m going to make it happen, I’d better get cracking.

    I’m so happy for you! There’s nothing like huge flocks of birds to stir the imagination.

  3. Adrienne Says:

    What a wonderful experience, Rosemary!
    I love those cranes. We have the International Crane Foundation in Barabooo, Wi. Yesterday I was doing yardwork and a V of sandhills flew low over the yard. Love their voices!

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