Audubon's Nebraska Crane Festival

Sandhill Cranes. Photo: Madeline Poster.

Audubon Nebraska's 50th Crane Festival!

Join us for our 50th Crane Festival on March 20 and 21, 2020!

Here are the tours available during the festival:

Festival Headquarters: Holiday Inn Hotel & Convention Center, 110 2nd Avenue, Kearney, NE  68848 - (308) 237-5971.

If you can’t make the festival but still want to see the Sandhill Cranes, check out Rowe Sanctuary's website, or call (308) 468-5282 to learn about more crane viewing options.

Stay tuned for updates on speakers and other events leading up to the festival.   


Sandhill Crane Basics

Height: 3 to 4 feet
Weight: 6 to 12 pounds
Wingspan: 6 to 7 feet
Lifespan: 20 to 40 years
Diet: Cranes are omnivorous and their diet varies depending on the season and where they are at. The cranes that visit the Platte River valley feed primarily on waste grain left in corn fields, making up 90% of their diet while here. The other 10% comes from plant and animal foods found in wet meadows adjacent to the river. Seeds, fleshy tubers of plants, grubs, earth worms, snails, amphibians, small reptiles and small rodents are all fair game.
Color: Adult is gray with a red crown (bald patch of skin); juvenile is browner overall and has a feathered crown.
Subspecies: There are at least five subspecies of Sandhill Cranes, possibly six depending on who you ask. Migratory subspecies include the lesser, greater, and according to some, the Canadian Sandhill Crane. Non-migratory subspecies are the Florida, Mississippi and Cuban Sandhill Crane.
Flight speed & distance: 25 - 35 mph; cranes typically travel 200 - 300 miles in a day, but can reach 500 miles with a good tail wind.
Nesting: For migratory populations, nesting begins early April to late May. Non-migratory populations begin in December to early March. Nests are usually low mounds of vegetation located in wetlands, but are occasionally located in uplands. The female typically lays two eggs, with incubation lasting 29 - 32 days.
Status: Stable to increasing, except for the isolated populations in Mississippi and Cuba. The total for all subspecies numbers between 600,000 - 800,000, with Lesser Sandhill Cranes being the most abundant

How you can help, right now