Thousands of Sandhill Cranes headed for Indiana

CARMEL, Ind. -- Like a scene from a wildlife documentary, majestic flocks of Sandhill cranes are filling the skies at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife area this fall, peaking at the northern Indiana property in mid-November. 

Majestic flocks of Sandhill cranes can be observed in northern Jasper County and the surrounding areas from late September through December. Sandhill cranes make the South Shore their stopover on their long southerly migration to Georgia and Florida. The birds' natural habitat includes marshes, wet grasslands, river basins and harvested farm fields, all of which can be found in the northern Jasper County region.

The Indiana Audubon Society will host a special coach tour on Saturday, November 18, giving nature lovers an opportunity to witness the mass migration of Sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area. 

The special coach trip will leave from Indianapolis’s north-side, at Cool Creek County Park and will be led by Indiana Audubon Executive Director, Brad Bumgardner.

The trip will begin at the Cool Creek Nature Center in Carmel at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. Registered participants will get a short introductory program about the cranes of Indiana, their history and current status in Indiana, before boarding a motor coach bus for Jasper-Pulaski to view up to 20,000 cranes as they head to their evening roost.  The trip will return to Cool Creek Park around 8:00 p.m.

At Jasper Pulaski, visitors will be able to watch the evening gathering of cranes from atop special viewing platforms. Beginning about one hour before sunset, flocks of cranes will glide in from all directions. They gab and socialize again before returning to roosting marshes at dusk. 

Outdoor Indiana magazine rated the fall spectacle among the top 20 things every Hoosier should witness before they die. Organizers said the trip is well suited for beginners and experienced birders, general nature enthusiasts, and photographers.

Costs for the coach tour is $48 and $10 discounts are available for Indiana Audubon Society members. Space is limited, and advance registration is required. 

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