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When we visited Bosque del Apache in November 2010 and again in November 2015 we learned of the amazing migration route of the Sandhill Cranes. In the spring most of the Sandhill Cranes wintering in Mexico fly north in an upside-down funnel with the narrowest part at the Platte River in Kearny Nebraska.


As many as 500,000 cranes come to the flat Platte river to rest and fatten up on the surrounding corn fields before flying north to Canada, Alaska and Siberia. Sandhill cranes feed in the fields during the day and “fly in” to the Platte River at night. The Platte River has famously been called “a mile wide and a foot deep.” This is ideal for the Sandhill Cranes since they cannot swim. Standing in the water at night provides them with protection from predators, since the splashing of their approach would alarm them to fly away. A week before we arrived in April 1, 2016 there were 400,000 cranes at the Platte River. The Rowe Sanctuary and the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at the Rowe are just the outside of Kearney, NE,

Kearny Rowe

The Audubon center maintains three blinds for photographing the “fly ins” starting at 6:00 PM and "fly outs” at 6:00 AM. We had to make reservations in the first week in January to secure a place. No sense trying earlier, reservations start in early January. When to come? The saying is, they start coming on Valentines Day, peak at St. Patrick’s Day (@ March 17
th) and are gone by tax day.
The photos are divided into Rowe Birds Sunset fly in, Rowe Birds AM fly out, Rowe Other, and Rowe Places Photos. Since the flights were very dramatic I took a lot of videos, see Rowe Videos.