You've seen them in the fields and flying by the thousands in the skies. The cranes are back and this week's One Tank Trip takes us to the Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon for a bird's eye view.
"I think they're one of the most wonderful and graceful forms that i've ever seen," said volunteer Caryl McHarney.
Nearly half a million sandhill cranes are back in Nebraska for their annual migration. The birds fly from the south and are on their way north into Canada and some will reach as far north as Siberia.
"It's a very unique thing to Nebraska. Nothing like this happens anywhere else in the world
with sandhill cranes. It's been equated to the migration of the caribou and wildebeest and it's a
great attraction in Nebraska," explained Rowe Sanctuary Director Brad Mellema.
Rowe Sanctuary is a great place to come and get a closer look at the cranes. It's open every day and mornings and evenings are the best times to see them.
"We have visitors from around the country and the world that come to experience it. One of
the most popular things is the guided tours and public viewing blinds and we go out in the morning and evening and it puts you right on the Platte," Mellema said.
Volunteers from around the country flock back to the sanctuary to make sure everyone can experience the beauty of the cranes.
"Those of us that come a distance to volunteer here, we've often said it's our own human
migration," joked volunteer Susan Ahlschwede, who came from Washington.
Many volunteers say the cranes put on a real show at sunset when they are in flight. The birds usually only come to this 70-80 mile stretch of the Platte, making it something special to Nebraska.
"I think people are discovering the beauty that's right in our own backyard and so even if
you're not a wildlife viewer, it's important to see what all the fuss is about," said Mellema.
The time to see the cranes is now as they will be moving north in the next couple of weeks.
On the weekend of March 28, 2008, Rowe will be hosting a Family Crane Carnival.
Cost- $2 donation
$3 for Crane Class
$20 for Guided Tour
During Crane season it's open 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., seven days a week.