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Sandhill Crane Migration

A sandhill crane standing in a bright green field

Sandhill Crane Migration

Throughout the fall, sandhill cranes migrate south for the winter, taking respite in Michigan's lower counties before the next leg of their journey to southern states.

Standing 5 feet tall with 6-foot wingspans and unmistakable bright red heads, they are a stunning sight. Sandhill cranes can be found feeding on seeds and grains in agricultural fields or browsing on wetland plants, insects and amphibians in marshlands throughout Jackson and Washtenaw counties.

Sandhill Crane Viewing Locations

The best time to view the sandhill crane migration is at dusk to watch, and listen to, these huge birds settle in for an evening of feeding and resting before they head south on their migratory journey. Check out the Michigan Audubon's Sandhill Crane migration webpage for more details on viewing locations.

Bernard W. Baker Sanctuary

Baker Sanctuary offers the best view of cranes as large groups fly overhead en route to roost at Big Marsh Lake.

Bernard W. Baker Sanctuary

Haehnle Sanctuary

The Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Audubon Sanctuary near Waterloo Recreation Area in Jackson County is the largest roosting area for the cranes.

Haehnle Sanctuary

Kensington Metropark

The nature trails at Kesington Metropark are a prime area for crane viewing.

Kensington Metropark

Waterloo Recreation Area

The park’s 3,000 acres of protected wetlands and the adjacent 1,000-acre Haehnle Sanctuary provide vital nesting habitat for the cranes.

Waterloo Recreation Area