Thousands of sandhill cranes migrate from Canada across the eastern half of Montana every fall en route to wintering grounds in New Mexico and Texas. During the journey, many cranes stop in the American Prairie area gracing the landscape with their presence and enchanting visitors with their prehistoric call.
Sandhill crane populations are growing across their North American range, in large part due to habitat conservation efforts. Beginning in 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt created the first Federal Bird Reserve in Florida, and by the end of his administration, Roosevelt had dedicated 51 such areas. Many of these areas were later folded into the National Wildlife Refuge system now managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Dennis Lingohr captured this photo of an adult with its young — a reminder of the enduring benefit of habitat conservation.
Read more about how American Prairie contributes to the ongoing preservation of avian diversity in the United States.
Sandhill Crane recording provided by Acoustic Atlas, Montana State University Library.