Ogallala Aquifer | What Happens When the Water Runs Out, National Geographic Magazine: Courting Sandhill Cranes

Wood River Nebraska – These Sandhill Cranes courting dance involves wing-flapping, bowing and leaping. Sandhill Crane pairs remain together for life. Their spirited dance is more common in breeding season and plays an essential role in reaffirming their bond. 

Migration between wintering grounds in the south and breeding grounds in the north takes Sandhill Cranes across the region of Nebraska for many thousands, if not millions, of years. The link between Sandhill Cranes and the Platte River is believed to date to the river’s origins some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, following the end of the last ice age.

With a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet, the cranes land in the Platte River wetlands feeling safe from predators in 2 inches of Ogallala water. Their annual migration extends from Siberia and Canada to the southern United States and Northern Mexico. Approximately 500,000 Sandhill Cranes fly in to Crane Trust property near Kearney and adjacent farmland.