Why Are they Our Sandhill Cranes?

The Central Valley Sandhill Cranes do not interact with crane populations east of the Sierras. If we do not maintain their critical local winter habitat and their numbers diminish, they will not be replenished by other populations. This is our local population– the only one we get!

Are our Sandhill Cranes endangered?

Our Greater Sandhill Crane was classified as a State Threatened species as of 1984. The Lesser Sandhill Crane, though not similarly classified, is equally threatened by changing land uses.

Why do we need to save our Sandhill Cranes?

Our Sandhill Cranes winter over in the Cosumnes floodplain and surrounding agricultural areas south of Sacramento. They have very specific habitat requirements. They utilize freshly cut or flooded rice and corn fields for roosting and feeding. Planned land use changes in their critical habitat zone threaten significant areas that fit this description. Further concentrations of the cranes in the remaining viable habitat will likely tax the ease of food acquisition and roosting site identification. Denser crane crowding could result in greater disease transmission.

What are the most pressing current threats to our Sandhill Cranes?

The two urban threats are the southward expansion of Elk Grove and the westward expansion of GALT. The agricultural threat is predominately the shift from rice and corn production to grape vineyards. Check this site for updates and specific actions.

Where and when can I see Sandhill Cranes?

The best place to see our Sandhill Cranes is at the Consumnes River Preserve. They usually arrive in late September and leave in March. It is truly an incredible wildlife spectacle to see their arrival and their nightly return to roosting at the preserve.