The short video I’m sharing today was taken along a local farm field where sandhill cranes gather up each evening before heading on masse over to the Wisconsin River near the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Baraboo (Home of the International Crane Foundation by the way!) is a staging area for thousands of sandhill cranes each year. This year it has been estimated that between 8,000 and 10,000 cranes are hanging out in the Baraboo area. The cranes will stay here until either the water freezes or snow covers the local farm fields. When one or both of those things happen, they’ll continue on their way to Florida for the winter months.
I’ve read that between 30,000 to 40,000 people visit the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Area in Indiana to watch cranes each year. That’s amazing in-of-itself! Here in Baraboo, very few people come to see the cranes. Right now, that’s a good thing. While you can imagine the boon that would be for local hotels, shops, and restaurants, we’re simply not set up for large numbers of crane lovers! Until we organize some safe pullovers and public viewing stations, I hesitate to give out the best “free” viewing locations myself. Someday I hope we’ll do more because it’s an amazing show and rare opportunity to see any sort of wildlife in such numbers!!
If you do want to see the cranes in our area, your best option right now is to try to get into one of the limited Crane Congregation tours hosted by the Aldo-Leopold Foundation. They’ve certainly put together a great wine, cheese & crane tour! The other option, for this season at least, is to head south, to Jasper-Pulaski.