Crane Season continues to bring in tourists

Cranes flying at Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center
Cranes flying at Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 8:00 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - If you’ve seen birds flocking together, then you know crane season is upon us. The Sandhill Crane migration is underway and Central Nebraska is their prime resting spot.

The migration is the second largest migration in the world. The cranes spend several weeks in the Platte River Valley to gain 20 percent of their body weight before continuing north. Officials said people travel from places as far as Japan and Europe to see the migration. But most visitors are from neighboring states.

“In our office everyday we have people coming in from other states asking about where to go to see the cranes and what activities they need to do while their here,” Danna Jelinek, Program and Outreach Manager at Grand Island Tourism said. “So not only are we getting visitors from not just surrounding states but from further away and and sometimes from around the world.”

Jelinek said crane season helps all businesses in the area because visitors are always looking for places to go.

“We had two couples come in and both were staying multiple nights in our community and both were asking about activities they could do while they were here, and restaurants that they could visit,” Jelinek said. “So each one of them was having an impact on our occupancy in the area, going to restaurants.”

Jelinek said all of those who visit during crane season are also spending money in our community which is a major perk. Crane season also gets tour guides out and about.

“There are people on staff right now during crane season that aren’t in the office much,” Jelinek said. “Because we’re out with visitors and we’re helping them either see the cranes or leading them on bus tours, or showing them different areas that they can visit so they can do their crane spotting.”

Jelinek said the horse racing season and crane season overlapping gives people other activities to participate in.

“The racing season and crane season overlapping means that we’re very busy and it gives people who come to our community for one or the other the opportunity to do something else while they’re here,” Jelinek said. “Sometimes it’s a different group of people that visit those things, but there’s always overlap.”

Jelinek said crane season is popular because nature lovers from all over the world view experiencing the crane migration as a bucket list thing for them to do.