Where to Find The Cranes Of Nebraska

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

The cranes are visible in the Platte River basin from early March to early April. They are easily viewed in fields through the area, stretching particularly from Kearney to Grand Island. The best viewing is available from blinds at two sanctuaries - the Audubon Society's Lillian Annette Rowe Sanctuary near Kearney and the Mormon Island Crane Meadows Sanctuary of the Whooping Crane Trust, near Grand Island. Reservations must be made for use of the blinds (see numbers below).

The adjacent Rainwater Basin wetlands have a number of locales to view huge flocks of migratory waterfowl such as the snow, greater white-fronted, and Canada geese, as well as various duck species. This region also has a significant number of bald eagles, as well as migratory shorebirds and songbirds.

Every spring the Audubon Society also holds an annual conference where you can learn more about the plight of the Platte River and the cranes. For further information, call (913) 537-4385.

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For those seeking information about cranes, contact the International Crane Foundation, the world center for the study and preservation of these birds, at: E-11376 Shady Lane Road, P.O. Box 447, Baraboo, WI 53913-0447. Tel. (608) 356-9462 or e-mail at cranes@baraboo.com

For tour information and blind reservations:

* National Audubon Society's Rowe Sanctuary, Kearney: (308) 468-5282.

* US Fish and Wildlife/Rainwater Basin District: (308) 236-5015.

* Fort Kearney State Historical Park: (308) 865-5305.

* Crane Meadows Nature Center, Grand Island: (308) 382-1820.

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