NEBRASKA: Sandhill Crane Migration

Jennifer Leigh Warner - Wildside Nebraska Tour (3)


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2023 :: March 13 - March 17



From: $3,300 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Omaha, Nebraska (OMA)


3 Participants


2023: 2 Spaces Available


This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of NEBRASKA: Sandhill Crane Migration

  • Hands-on photo instruction for wildlife and landscape photography with Nikon Professional Jennifer Leigh Warner
  • Photograph the largest wildlife migration in North America as over half a million sandhill cranes arrive during their spring migration.
  • Learn about the importance of the ecosystem along the Platte River and why this is such a critical stopover location for migrating birds.
  • Photograph from photography blinds positioned along the Platte River for ideal viewing of the cranes as they take off from the river in the morning and return to the river in the evening.
  • Photograph Greater Prairie Chickens in the heart of Audubon’s Greater Gracie Creek Important Bird Area.

Description of NEBRASKA: Sandhill Crane Migration

Every year from mid/late February to mid-April, one million Sandhill Cranes migrate on the Platte River Valley in order to ‘fuel up’ before resuming their northward migration. During this unique photography tour we will be visiting the Crane Trust.  

The Crane Trust is home to the largest crane roost in the world! During the month of March, over 1 million cranes visit the Big Bend Reach of the Platte River. They come as they have for thousands of years to this stretch of the Platte River—over one million—to rest, feed and congregate in astonishing numbers before pushing on to their breeding grounds in the north. Now, as never before, you can experience the wonder of North America’s great Sandhill Crane migration on historic Crane Trust lands in the heart of Nebraska.

The arrival of the cranes on Nebraska’s Platte River—and the millions of other migratory birds that visit each spring—is one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on the continent. Peak viewing times occur at dawn and sunset, meaning there is an extremely short and exclusive window to experience this awe-inspiring scene.

After we have had our fill of Sandhill cranes we will travel to Burwell, NE in search of Greater Prairie Chickens. The Switzer Ranch is in the heart of Audubon’s Greater Gracie Creek Important Bird Area, the first privately owned IBA in the state of Nebraska.  Primarily known for Greater Prairie-Chicken and Sharp-tailed Grouse viewing, many other bird species can be seen in the area.

This workshop is a part of our new “Wildside Limited Series” which is limited to 3 photographers for plenty of individual instruction and attention!

*Single Supplement Options are NOT Available for the Crane Trust – the single supplement fee applies only to the first night in Omaha*

Length of Tour


Brief Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Omaha, NE, overnight in Omaha

Day 2: Travel to Crane Trust, Evening in Photography Blind

Day 3: Morning in Photography Blind, Field Photography, Evening Photography Blind

Day 4: Morning in Photography Blind, Field Photography, Transfer to Prairie Chicken Lodge

Day 5: Morning in Prairie Chicken Photography Blind, transfer to Omaha for evening flight

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Omaha International Airport Eppley Airfield. You will be transferred to a nearby hotel to rest for the night before heading out into the field the next day. We will have a welcome dinner, where you will meet your leader and discuss what to expect during the next few days. We will talk about how to photograph from photography blinds and some of the rules and etiquette so as not to disturb the birds.  

Day 2: Drive to Wood River, NE, Lunch, Afternoon photographing Sandhill cranes, snow geese and bald eagles in the fields. 

The next few days will be spent at the Crane Trust in a VIP experience to photograph the Sandhill crane migration from a private photography blind. 

The Crane Trust Safari offers a one-of-a-kind adventure on historic Crane Trust lands, which includes three days of spectacular Sandhill Crane migration viewing and related activities with two nights’ lodging. The Crane Trust’s private Legacy Cottages are situated on 5,500 beautiful acres of native tall and mixed-grass prairie and wetland meadows. Each experience is unique, designed to foster positive, lifelong connections to one of the greatest wildlife phenomena in North America.

Guests will find themselves viewing the migration through a heated private VIP blind situated along the river by the largest Sandhill Crane roost in the world at sunrise and sunset. Included in the Safari itinerary is box lunch and guided excursion to rare private prairie, historic sites and viewing of our genetically-pure American bison herd, all while learning about the ecology of the surrounding habitat and wildlife. Guests are also welcome to avail themselves of prairie hiking, photography and birding.  We also encourage guests to explore the area via the country roads to see the cranes dancing and foraging in the fields.

Arrival: 3:30PM at the Nature & Visitor Center and get checked into your cabin.

Evening crane viewing from private photography blinds, dinner evening portfolio review.

Day 3: Day three will be spent at the Crane Trust. We will spend the morning in the VIP heated crane viewing photography blind. After photographing in the blinds enjoy a hot breakfast in the lodge. We will spend the next few hours exploring the 5,500 acre Crane Trust property and photograph the wildlife that live on the land, including bison. 

The evening will be spent in the VIP heated crane viewing photography blind. After we are done in the blinds we will enjoy dinner and spend the evening reviewing the images we made.

Day 4: We will spend the morning in the VIP heated crane viewing photography blind. After photographing in the blinds enjoy a hot breakfast in the lodge.  We will depart the Crane trust and spend the next few hours photographing the cranes in the fields.

After lunch we will be transfer to the Switzer Ranch

We will enjoy a dinner at the lodge before heading off the bed.

Day 5: With early spring (mid-March through April) being the best time to visit to see the prairie grouse, there are other excellent bird watching opportunities during this time. Calamus Reservoir attracts migrating waterfowl, Bald Eagles and American White Pelicans, often in large numbers. Harris’s Sparrow is another sought after bird that can be found in the area. We will spend the morning in the photography blinds at the Prairie Chicken Leek. 

We will enjoy a hot breakfast at the lodge before transferring to Omaha for an afternoon flight home. 


Cost is $3,300 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Omaha, Nebraska (Airport code OMA.
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code ).

This trip includes meals, airport pickup, transportation during the workshop,


Single Supplement

If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $185 will be assessed.

NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.


Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.


Deposit Requirements

A $750 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

This trip includes standard hotel in Omaha, the Crane Trust cottages (double occupancy) and the Switzer Ranch (single occupancy).

The main ranch facility is closed to the public. It includes the headquarters office, research laboratory, dormitory, Legacy Cabins, meeting/dining facilities, private crane-viewing blinds, and an outdoor deck and observation platform with breathtaking views of the tall-grass prairie and Platte River waterway. Reservations are required to access this rare ecosystem which includes an uninterrupted seven-mile stretch of the historic Platte River, which has been preserved by the Crane Trust to mirror the unique and extraordinary habitat that has been used by the endangered whooping crane and two sub-species of Sandhill Cranes for millennia.

*Single Supplement Options are NOT Available for the Crane Trust – the single supplement fee applies only to the first night in Omaha*

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

It will be cold and you will need to be able to walk at least a ¼ of a mile to and from the blinds on uneven ground. The Prairie Chicken blinds are not heated.

Long telephoto lens in the 400-600mm range with tele converters for dancing cranes and flight photos

Mid-range telephoto zoom that you can handhold for clusters of birds in flight

Wide angle lens for scenic views of the river with thousands of cranes

Tripod and/or monopod

Laptop with image processing software

Layered clothing with wind and water protection, warm boots, gloves, and warm head-wear

*Single Supplement Options are NOT Available for the Crane Trust – the single supplement fee applies only to the first night in Omaha*

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

Location Map