A Look Through The BlindWritten by Jacqueline Skarda
It's the prime time for crane viewing.
And the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park offers the prime spot.
Whether in the sky...
Or on the ground.
Thousands of people come to view the Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska each year.
“The sound that they make and the dance they do and their courtship ritual and it's just something that really intrigues people,” says Aric Riggins, Supt., Buffalo Bill State Historical Park.
And you can have your own unique viewing experience in North Platte at the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park.
Just down the road leading to the campgrounds off Buffalo Bill Avenue, is a crane blind.
“Ten years ago, we bought this blind with some wildlife money and it's been here ever since. More people are realizing that it's here and more people are using it each year which is great,” says Riggins.
Between 3,000 and 8,000 birds can roost in these fields overnight.
Sometimes snow geese and other birds join in.
The blind is available to anyone at any time, but Park Superintendent Aric Riggins says some of the best times are sunrise and sunset.
Just make sure you have your park permit on your vehicle.
And use caution when approaching the area.
“When you're walking into the blind, don't yell and scream, just walk real quietly and you won't spook them up. Especially if you're coming to watch them in the morning, get here, come in in the dark, have a head lamp, that way you don't spook them up if it's spooky if it's dark. Same thing at night, come an hour or two early before the sun goes down to watch them and then you're generally pretty good,” says Riggins.
The park also offers a smaller, wooden blind just along the river to view these majestic creatures.
“It's just a half a mile walk if you park right down the campground by the restroom and just follow the hiking trail right along the river,” says Riggins.
The birds stick around for several more weeks and the blind will be out until they're gone.
So grab your binoculars and come take a look.