Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sandhill Cranes, Spring Migration!

Today I took a short drive just south of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, which is about 40 miles south of Louisville. I went in search of Sandhill Cranes. The Kentucky Birding website had several posts indicating the cranes were roosting during their Spring migration in an area just west of Cecilia, Kentucky. And as luck would have it, I found the exact spot noted on the website from yesterday's sighting.

When migrating, you can view Sandhills in flocks of hundreds and thousands. These birds today are making their way across Kentucky and Indiana to reach their nesting area in the Great Lakes Region. These birds with their long necks and long legs, generally have tufted feathers over their rump, and may have a reddish stain on their feathers. You can see the reddish stain on some of the images I took today. Other distinguishing marks are white cheeks and a red forehead.

While I tried to take a photo of the cranes doing their mating dance, the flock in this image was too far in the distance so the mating dance got a little lost in translation.

Some 650,000 Sandhill Cranes make the Midwest migration annually with a higher peak in numbers occurring around March 1st. Jasper Pulaski NWR in northwest Indiana is the place to spot tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes. This is one of their preferred staging areas. It's just north of Indianapolis and isn't difficult to find. If you live nearer to that area, it's the place to spot them. Hope your weekend is going well. ENJOY!


  1. Lucky you, Carol! I'm so happy you found the Sandhill Cranes. Great photos too!

  2. Great find and well worth the drive aye! Barren River State Resort Park hosts a Sandhill Crane weekend next weekend. Hope the birds have not all moved through by then for those folks. I was lucky enough to spot a flock moving south over Kentucky Lake in December. Only could get a few silhouette shots but it was still great to watch them and listen to them chattering in flight.

  3. How did you manage to get so close?

  4. Sandy most of the best shots were across a street and a very narrow marsh and they were standing there on the side of the marsh. I was very lucky. They migrate from way down south even as far as Cuba. Carol