192,000 Sandhill Cranes

We went out to Audubon’s Rowe Bird Sanctuary for a quick look at some early crane migration action. The weekly ‘census’ informs us that there are 192,000 of these guys running around the corn fields, right now. (They take pictures from an airplane, and count heads, apparently. )

Birds on the ground and birds in the air. The sound of them calling to each other really is spectacular.

The bird sanctuary, itself… You can use one of their telescopes to look at the birds while they settle in for the night. It’s not that far from the Platte River. They also offer bird-tours for those who are willing to get up at the ass crack of dawn to go look at birds in near-freezing weather. (It may be slightly warmer toward the end of the migration. Slightly.)

They have bird blinds and bird-guides.

Oh, look. It’s a conservation potty poem. Also from the Rowe building. (Still beats the classic, If It’s Brown Flush it Down from the **ahem** “good ole days.”)

This gate leads out to the trails. You can see just a little slice of the Platte River in the middle right-hand side of the screen.

The gift shop has a wide variety of crane-supporting gifts. Most of them have cranes (some of them even Sandhill cranes) on them.

There’s also a whole world of origami supplies here–which shouldn’t have surprised me–so you can fold a few thousand of your own paper cranes. (Or birds. Or go a completely different direction and fold frogs or airplanes.) They’re also giving away paper cranes that have already been folded. (or trying to. They have baskets of them.) I’m only slightly tempted to point out that this would be the wrong kind of crane.

They probably already know, and I’m not really sure what the American equivalent to paper cranes is. Something affordable and gift-able.

Steel Cranes

Since nothing was familiar enough to photograph on my trip back to my childhood home, I wound up taking a couple pictures on the way back.
Yup. More rest area art.


Central Nebraska is one of the places the cranes stop to rest on their annual migration. And this…  Well, this would be a 100% all American origami steel crane. Mostly. Rumor hath it that if you fold enough of them (About two. We really don’t have the Japanese attention span, and besides… STEEL!) Your wish will come true.


The Central Nebraska Visitors’ Bureau wished for more tourists and more attention from the press.
They got me on both counts, so obviously, the legend is absolutely true.