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Sandhill Crane Migration Map
Sandhill Crane Migration Map
Tracking Sandhill Cranes

On the Move

The mid-continental population of sandhill cranes winter in sunny New Mexico, Texas, and northern Mexico before converging on Nebraska's Platte River Valley each spring, creating one of the world's greatest avian migrations. Their staging area, between Grand Island and Kearney, allows the cranes to fatten up on corn over six weeks before continuing their migration to breeding grounds in Alaska, Canada, and Siberia (not shown).

The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center has helped scientists learn more about the migration pattern of these birds by tagging them with satellite transmitters and tracking their movements. They finished up the project during 2004 and shared data on the northern journey of two birds (above) with National Geographic Maps. Hoping to preserve these graceful birds, the center is also using satellite transmitter data to identify vital crane habitats and promote conservation in those areas.

Data from Gary Krapu and David Brandt, U.S. Geological Survey,
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center