…morning light is magic…

Sandhill Crane Migration

I’ve always heard about the great photo op’s of Sandhill Cranes in New Mexico in Nov/Dec but never much about the migration back to the great white north in the spring in Nebraska.  From Feb through April, 80% of the Sandhill Cranes in the world migrate through Nebraska and forage along the Platt River between Grand Island and Lexington, Nebraska.  They feed on the waste grain in the corn fields to increase their body weight by about 20% before heading north to breed.  They migrate to Canada, Alaska and even as far as Siberia based on tracking devices placed on some of the birds in Nebraska.

From seeing thousands of Sandhill’s feeding and dancing in the corn fields to tens of thousands of them landing and taking off from the river, it was an amazing time to be in Nebraska.  The sights and sounds were incredible.  More photos to follow.  I’ll have to figure out how to post a video so that you can hear them talking off at sunrise.

Taken with Canon 7D and  Canon 500mm F4 IS II lens and 1.4x III teleconverter

1/640 sec @ F7.1, ISO 400, evaluative metering, handheld out the car window


1/400 sec @ F7.1, ISO 400, evaluative metering, +2/3 exposure compensation, handheld out the car window


1/250 sec @ F10, ISO 800, evaluative metering


6 responses

  1. It’s hard to pull off a good photo with two subjects, but you did it here. Their closeness (especially their heads) and the capture of the wing action make the shot. Think I would call it “The Dance”.

    April 6, 2014 at 10:06 am

  2. Interesting information Tim. Something I didn’t know. It’s got to be a sight to see and looks like you were having a great time. Love the dancers. Looking forward to more.

    April 6, 2014 at 10:13 am

  3. Great photos. Every year I think I end up like the sandhills more and look forward to their arrival in fall.

    April 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm

  4. Thanks Doug. It was difficult to isolate them as there were so many so I’ve got lots of multiple bird shots. Got some cool dancing photos.

    April 9, 2014 at 8:28 pm

  5. Thanks David. It was a very good time. Hoping to head back there again next year.

    April 9, 2014 at 8:29 pm

  6. Thanks Lyle. I’ve always enjoyed Sandhill’s but haven’t seen this many before. Still have more photos to go through.

    April 9, 2014 at 8:30 pm

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