Whooping Cranes

While bird watching throughout Nebraska, be sure to keep an eye out for Whooping Cranes. The Whooping Crane is the tallest bird in North America, and is one of the best-known endangered species on the continent.

The Whooping Crane is the rarest of the world’s 15 species of Cranes. It is estimated that less than 1,000 individuals exist worldwide. About half of these endangered birds migrate through Nebraska.

Whooping Crane occurrences are most likely to take place in Nebraska during the spring migration from mid- March through the end of April and during fall migration from late October to mid-November.

Whooping Cranes prefer shallow braided riverine habitats and wetlands for roosting. Nebraska is one of the only places where a considerable amount of time is spent in rivers. They use agricultural fields, wet meadows, marsh habitats, and shallow rivers for feeding. Whooping Cranes typically select sites with wide, open views and those areas that are isolated from human disturbance.

Whooping cranes should not be approached or disturbed. If cranes become alert or stop foraging you are too close. Remain at least a half mile away and stay in your vehicle. Report individuals who harass or disturb whooping cranes.

If you think you see a Whooping Crane, do two things:

  1. Report the sighting by clicking here!
  2. Do not approach or harass Whooping Cranes for any reason!

Harassing Whooping Cranes may put them at risk and it also is a violation of state and federal law.