During March and Early April, the Platte river valley between Grand Island and Kearney is the staging area for the spring migration of sandhill cranes – one of the last great migrations in North America. At dusk, faint cries and chatter become louder and louder as the sky fills with wave after wave of birds fly in from the fields to roost on the sandbars and in the river. At dawn the sight and sound of the birds taking to the air in one big wave is spectacular. During the day, the birds feed on grain in the fields increasing their body weight by 20 percent in preparation for the long journey to Canada, Alaska and even Siberia.
For thousands of years these ancient birds have been making this journey. And in the past six or eight years I have been joining the thousands of visitors who make the journey to the central flyway and Platte river valley to experience this natural wonder.