2006 Sandhill Crane Counts


MARCH 2006

3 – 68 (may have been local wintering birds
4  – 68 (same group as last night staying extra night because weather too bad to fly)
5 – 20?
6 – 0
7 – 7
8 – 5   (Rain, Snow, Heavy overcast)
9 – 0  (Weather getting worse)

10 – 0  (“migrating” cranes lay goose egg for Crane Days)

11 – 0 (Even more snow)
12  – 0  getting monotonous
13 –   0 [But as the weather clears and warms up we expect large numbers soon]

14 –  About 70 – much fewer than expected (several reports of sizeable numbers flying along the Gunnison River past Delta on towards Grand Junction)

15 –  About 40 – North side of  North Road in the tall grass – difficult to count

[Compare this to last year when over  5,000 had already come through by this time – evidence that this year’s weather is much more severe.]

16 –  700 – 800 Cranes – on north side of road along the water at dusk.

17 –  61   [This morning the cranes were slow in leaving in the face of the coming storm front.  Heavy overcast throughout the day probably kept cranes  to the south]

18 –  60  Probably different birds than yesterday’s

19-  0 (Although I did hear a rumor of 1 and/or 6 cranes)

20 –  1  (I didn’t see any but  Leo said he saw one – and Leo knows the difference between as Sandhill Crane and a Great Blue Heron)

21 – 2,200+   WOW!  Cold, blustery, overcast afternoon.  They started arriving early – 2:00 p.m.according to Leo.  Feeding intensely.  Will count in the morning to see how close this estimate is – could have even more than that.   (2,200 looked like a reasonable estimate of cranes)

22 –  30  Cold and windy

23 –  4,000 +/-  Perfect day made wonderful by wave after wave of cranes floating in from the southeast.  This will probably be the single biggest day for cranes this spring!  Tomorrow morning there is only one place to be!  See you there.

24 – (This morning – maybe there were a few birds less that 4,000, but there were more than 75 cars)

TONIGHT: 1,600+ according to those who counted incoming groups.  This number marks a rare occurance – large numbers of cranes arriving two nights in a row.


25 –  2,100  (Please do not go past any fence line or tresspass onto the farmlands near the cranes.  And please do not park and block any access road into the farms.  The cranes come because of the water of Fruitgrowers Reservoir and the farming practices of the farmers – so please respect their land and their rights.  Thank you.)

26 –  About 1,000.  Very strong winds today.  Consensus is that these birds were here last night. Today, many birds tried to take off, some were successful and some returned after struggling against the wind.  A relatively small number number may have come from Payne Siding 2-3 miles SE of the Reservoir.

27 –  About 700.   New birds

28 –  48 ( Weather overcast today)

29 –  About 400 – Rough weather this afternoon preventing a count until very late.  We believe this number includes yesterday’s 48.

30 –  5  – Probably leftovers from this morning

31 –  3,300 – Maybe more.  Quite a mob for liftoff tomorrow.  And PLEASE remember – for safety’s sake avoid parking any part of your car on pavement and PLEASE do not block any farm entrance or trespass onto any farmers’ land.  Thank you.


1- 270?  Don’t know if these are new birds or yesterday’s leftovers. 2 –  30

Hi  Ellen – we haven’t forgottten about you – Love, the Byron gang

3 –  3,000 – or close to it.  This big number so late in the year is just one of many suprises the cranes and the weather gave us this year. Enjoy!

4 – 50 – Probably leftovers from this morning who decided to stay another day

5 –  close to 600  –  SURPRISE! I didn’t have a chance to check this evening, neither did Evelyn, but the weather was too severe to believe that few if any arrived.   – WRONG. [The next morning [April 6th at 8:35] 24 Cranes flew low over  the winery from the direction of the reservoir – later (10:30) I saw 200+ overhead and Evelyn called to say there were close to 600.

6 –  400 – at 6:00 p.m.   Most left this morning into the stormy weather over the Grand Mesa but we don’t know if this evening’s birds are this morning’s that returned, new ones from the south, or a combination.

7 –  33 – at 6:10pm

8 –  400 – approximately – this high a number this late in the migration season is unusual.   [Sorry for the late posting – wine club met tonight.] 9 –  22 –  Or thereabouts.

10 –  211 –  1 – While we may be surprised, all bets have to favor that the migration is pretty much over.  We’ll keep an eye on things for the next few days and report things here.

12 –  210  – I was so sure there would be few birds tonight so I didn’t go look.  Evelyn called after sunset to say she saw this late mob.  I give upon this predicting business!

13 –  0 As of 6:00 pm [Sorry that I listed this so late]

14 – ?  Didn’t count.  At this point I’ll report when Cranes are seen but using this website as a crane alert is now over for the season.


– Jim Durr

General disclaimer:We try to count Cranes around sunset to include the late arrivals,  and to provide you with an idea  of how many birds you may encounter  the next morning at “liftoff” (usually between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m.,  or 10:00 and 11:00 a.m daylight savings time).

Crane counts are estimates of what  was seen by one or more observers.  The bigger the number of Cranes the less likely the number is accurate.  These numbers are most useful when looked at as relative numbers of Cranes from day to day.

Sometimes the counts we post in the evening are modified the  next morning when we feel more confident with the accuracy of the morning count.