Pathway of an Ancient Bird
Sandhill Cranes are a most ancient of bird with a fossil record dating back over 2 million years ago. They are also the most abundant of the 15 species of cranes in the world.
Every spring over 500,000 Sandhills use an 80 mile stretch of the Platte River as a rest stop on their migration north to the arctic. The river is the important fueling stop for the migrating cranes of the Central Flyway. The river is broad and shallow with many sandbars that the cranes roost on during night.
During the day, the cranes are scattered about eating in farm fields, gaining body weight for their journey into Canada, Alaska and even into Siberia to nest.
At dusk, ten of thousands of cranes return to roost in the river, circling and dropping down in spectacular display.
In the beginning hours of the evenings the cranes are unsettled, anxious and noisy. It takes awhile before they can settle down and get some rest.
With their beaks tucked in their feathers, this group of cranes is finally settling down for the night.
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