Sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) migrate ever Spring from their wintering grounds in the southern United States to their nesting grounds in Canada. Along their migration route, they make use of staging areas, where they rest and refuel for an extended time, before continuing their journey. The central Platte River in Nebraska is the staging area for 80% of the world's population of sandhill cranes. The cranes, hundreds of thousands of them, can be seen there for a few weeks in March and early April. They spend the nights sleeping in the shallow part of the river where they are safe from predation. At sunrise they fly to surrounding cornfields where they spend the day replenishing their energy reserves by eating waste corn from last year's harvest, returning to the river at sunset. I had the privilege of spending a week in Nebraska in 2012 to photograph this spectacular migration phenomenon.
© Paul Nguyen Photography