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Posted on October 5th, 2023 in How To, Wildlife | No Comments »

MyDNR, Indiana’s Outdoor Newsletter: Sandhill cranes can be seen at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area from late September through December. Crane numbers peak in mid-November. The best time to view is sunrise from the Goose Pasture viewing area.

Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area provides quality outdoor recreational opportunities while maintaining 8,179 acres of wetland, upland, and woodland game habitat. It provides an ideal stopover for migratory birds. More than 15,000 sandhill cranes stop during fall migration.sandhill cranes migrating

Best time to view

  • Sunrise: Gigantic flocks rise and fly from their roosting marshes to feed in surrounding private land (agricultural fields). On their way to feed some birds stop in the open grassland areas of the refuge.
  • Sunset: Beginning about one hour before sunset, flocks of cranes kite into the refuge near the observation area from all directions. They gab and socialize again before returning to roosting marshes at dusk.

While this is the cranes’ usual routine, it is important to remember they are wild animals and are not always predictable.

Best location to view
The crane spectacle is best seen from the observation platform at the Sandhill Crane Observation Area (view map). During the day, cranes can be spotted feeding and dancing in nearby harvested farm fields. Roosting marshes in the Waterfowl Resting Area are closed to the public so that migrating birds can rest without human disturbance.

Viewing tips
While cranes may gather close to the observation platform, they are usually several hundred yards away. A few stationary viewing scopes are available but bringing your own spotting scope or binoculars is recommended. If you are photographing cranes, your most powerful zoom lens will be handy, as trying to get too close to these birds will easily spook them.

Learn more about the fall sandhill crane migration at Jasper-Pulaski FWA.

Sign up to receive the MyDNR Newsletter by email: MyDNR Email Newsletter

International Crane Foundation
Sandhill Crane Migration Season is Upon Us, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR)
Climate + Birds, Purdue Institute for Sustainable Future
Birds and Residential Window Strikes: Tips for Prevention, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Breeding Birds and Forest Management: the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment and the Central Hardwoods Region, The Education Store
Managing Woodlands for Birds Video, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Ask An Expert, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube channel
No Room at the Inn: Suburban Backyards and Migratory Birds, Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Subscribe, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

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