Crane Watcher Etiquette
The Platte River and the surrounding area provide essential food and nutrients that sustain sandhill cranes for the rest of migration and for nesting. Disturbances during their critical stay in Nebraska can cause the birds to leave in poor condition, jeopardizing reproductive success when they arrive on their northern nesting grounds.
Crane watchers should avoid disturbing the cranes at their roosting or feeding areas:
- Do not approach cranes on foot while they are in fields. Cranes do not tolerate humans.
- Stay in your car and use it as a blind.
- Use appropriate locations for viewing the cranes on the river. Do not attempt to approach or otherwise disturb cranes on the river.
- Never approach a whooping crane. Flushing a whooping crane violates the Endangered Species Act. Stay in your car. View guidelines to avoid harassing whooping cranes.
Many paved and gravel roads traverse the area, and traffic travels fast. While driving to crane viewing areas, observe the following rules:
- Do not slow or stop on the road. Drive onto the shoulder.
- Never slow down or stop on bridges.
- Never block a driveway or any other farm road.
- Most land adjacent to the river and all of the agricultural fields are private property, so visitors should:
- Stay on county roads. Do not drive on farm roads.
- Assume all property is private and obtain owner permission before entering.
- Never cross a fence or open a cattle gate without the owner's permission.
- Do not disturb farm animals, cross cropland or touch farm equipment. Respect the rights of the people who live in the area.