These beautiful birds make a yearly stopover in Nebraska — and you can watch from home.

By Andrea Romano
April 10, 2020
Sandhill Cranes flying over the Platte River at sunset near Alda, Nebraska during their annual migration
Credit: Diana Robinson/Getty Images

If you can’t go on a nature walk right now, there is a way to experience the great outdoors while staying home.

Rowe Sanctuary, an organization that focuses on the conservation of bird species on the Platte River in Nebraska, has a livestream of the sanctuary’s Sandhill Cranes as they migrate to the area in spring. So, if you’re under stay-at-home orders or self-quarantine, this is an easy way to enjoy nature without the risk.

The huge influx of cranes gives the sanctuary the “most densely populated sandhill crane roosts in the world,” according to Rowe Sanctuary on its live camera description on YouTube. Between 100,000 and 200,000 cranes are estimated to come to this area of the Platte River.

According to Rowe Sanctuary, the cranes are only expected to stay in this area for three weeks. The best time to view them on the live cam is around sunrise and sunset since many of the birds venture out from the river to find food during the day.

Sandhill Cranes are native to North America and have an average weight between six to 14 pounds with a wingspan between five and six feet, according to National Geographic. Most cranes grow to between three and three-and-a-half feet tall. The large birds migrate all over the country, depending on the season, with most making a stop along Nebraska’s Platte River. They’re naturally gray with a red crown, and long, black beaks and legs. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, sandhill cranes make up about 80 percent of all the cranes on the planet, making them the most common crane species you can see today.

In addition to these majestic birds, the Roe Sanctuary’s live cam also features a number of other species that live in the area, including deer, bobcats, and other avian species, according to the Rowe Sanctuary website.

To watch the birds at Rowe Sanctuary, visit the organization’s livestream on YouTube.