Well-known for their elaborate courtship dances, graceful flight and prehistoric calls, sandhill cranes are the most common cranes in North America. Cranes build their nests on dry land or attached to vegetation above the water line to “float” with rising water levels. Within 24 hours of hatching crane chicks can walk and swim. Families (mother, father, and young) typically stay together for nine to ten months, until early in the spring following the young bird’s hatching.
Approximately 50 cranes use the refuge for nesting habitat during the summer but hundreds use the refuge as a staging (gathering) area during the fall migration.