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Great Gathering on the Great Plains
Paul Johnsgard Collection
  • Paul A. Johnsgard, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
  • Michael Forsberg, Photographer
Date of this Version

Published in National Wildlife, Volume 41, Number 3 (April/May 2003) , pp. 20–29.


Early spring along the Platte River is sheer magic. For more than a month migratory sandhill cranes pour into central Nebraska, attracted by the shallow river’s abundant roosting sites and nearby meadows and farms for feeding. Looking like legions of gray ghosts from a distance, the birds often cover wet meadows and cornfields from one end to the other. Flocks of a thousand or more fly low over the river, their voices rising and falling as they approach, pass overhead and disappear. With nearly a half-million cranes stopping here each spring, the placid Platte is transformed into the site of the greatest gathering of these birds in the world.

Citation Information
Paul A. Johnsgard and Michael Forsberg. "Great Gathering on the Great Plains" (2003)
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