April Crane Count Tracks Numbers, Whereabouts

Mar 24, 2014

Volunteers are getting ready to count Wisconsin’s cranes.  The Midwest Crane Count happens April 12th, organized by the International Crane Foundation.

Sandhill crane populations have rebounded in Wisconsin. Last year almost 9,000 cranes were counted in six Midwestern states.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The count happens early in the morning, between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m.  Oneida County coordinator Bob Dall says volunteers look and listen for a crane’s call at about 40 known nesting sites in the county.   

“Some of our local wildlife areas like Thunder Marsh, areas near open flowages and wetland bogs.  Cranberry marshes are very popular for cranes, they love to feed or nest there.” 

Last year Oneida County volunteers counted about 30 sandhill cranes, but Dall says it’s been as high as 200 in some years.  There have also been occasional whooping cranes found in the county.

Dall says this year’s count could be a low one, if a lot of snow is still on the ground come April.                        

“It’s possible that the numbers will be down.  This happened other years when we’ve had snow.  However, not much holds the cranes back. I’ve already had reports of cranes visiting Oneida County and Marathon in the last week.”

The count has been happening for almost 40 years.  It tracks population trends and where cranes are colonizing. 

Last year almost 9000 sandhill cranes were counted in six states, plus 22 whooping cranes in Wisconsin.