Audubon sanctuary awaits crane migration
From early March through mid-April, the Audubon Society's Rowe Sanctuary will host at least 60,000 sandhill cranes on a five-mile stretch of the Platte River
March 9, 1999
Web posted at: 3:45 PM EST
Beginning this month and continuing through April, a half-million sandhill cranes, along with millions of other migratory birds will begin their annual migration across the Great Plains of the United States.
Breathtaking and mysterious, the arrival of the gray, red-capped cranes on the Platte has been compared to the majestic wildlife migration on the African Serengeti.
Every year, millions of bird watchers from around the world flock to plains towns to watch the spectacular wildlife pageant.
From early March through mid-April, the Audubon Society's Rowe Sanctuary in Kearney, Neb., will host at least 60,000 of these four-foot-tall cranes on a five-mile stretch of the Platte River.
"The panorama is awe-inspiring, but it passes quickly," says Rowe Sanctuary Director Paul Tebbel. "The cranes feed and build body weight in order to continue their epic flights north to nesting grounds in Canada, Alaska and Siberia. By mid-April, what Forbes FYI Magazine has called 'the greatest bird spectacle in the world' is over and the cranes move on until next spring."
Visitors to the Platte will also be able to attend the Audubon Society's 29th Annual Rivers and Wildlife Celebration '99 in Kearney, Neb., Thursday-Sunday. Speakers include Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns, American Rivers President Rebecca Wodder, and storyteller John Borneman. The Celebration, sponsored by Eagle Optics and the Kearney Visitors bureau, is conducted by Audubon Nebraska, assisted by Big Bend Audubon Society and Friends of Rowe Sanctuary.
Due to a 70 percent reduction in its flow, resulting in severe ecological degradation and habitat loss, the Platte has twice been named one of "America's 10 most endangered rivers." Conservationists have worked to protect the water flows in this world-class wildlife habitat.
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