March 8, 2020 – Lewisville, Texas

Sandhill Cranes are 4 ft tall
and have a 6.5 ft wingspan .
Picture from Wikipedia

Spring is migration time in North Texas for birds that make use of the Central Flyway. This past weekend we had some notable avian guests pass through the Dallas/Fort Worth area. A noisy flock comprised of several dozen high flying Sandhill Cranes was observed making its way north—first through Dallas County, and then Denton—roughly following the route of I-35E. Many people in the metroplex reported seeing and/or hearing the big birds as they flew by high overhead.

Sandhill Cranes spend the winter on the coast, and in various places in south and west Texas. Each spring the cranes marshal, and begin the long journey from Texas to their breeding grounds in the North American interior, or even further north into Canada, all the way to the arctic.

Sandhill Crane Range Map from
The Cornell Lab – All About Birds web site

The flock over Lewisville was observed circling high overhead for an extended period of time. Eventually, the birds began breaking off as they formed up into the well know v-formation to continue on their northward journey.

Dozens of Sandhill Cranes over Lewisville, Texas
High flying and noisy
The cranes circled high overhead
Breaking off to join the v-formation
Forming up in progress
V-formation heading north!

Even though migrating Sandhill Cranes likely pass through the metroplex each autumn and spring, you really need a little luck—being at the right place, at the right time—to get a chance to see them. Keep your eyes—and ears—open. You may hear them before you see them!

3 Replies to “Sandhill Cranes over Dallas/Fort Worth”

  1. Thanks for this Chris. Sandhill Cranes are among my favorite wildlife, and probably would rank #1 or #2 for my wife. When we lived in the Permian Basin, the salt lakes between Big Spring and Stanton (both on I-20) held tremendous numbers in winter, and their calls from on high as they flew out for feeding and back for the evening were a haunting delight. Bonnie would sometimes say, “I hear cranes!,” when I had detected nothing. But sure enough, invariably, they would show up, sometimes far away barely above the horizon as a mere shadow at first, but her keen ears picked them up.

    Now that I live in NE Washington, we see pairs occasionally, and they do their mating dance. The best place to see them here is a National Wildlife Refuge that has closed to visitors due to the pandemic, however, so we may miss the early activity.

  2. I think I may have been lucky enough to see several large groups on the west side of Sherman TX l 10/20/2020. Of course I stopped my car to watch. When they formed v they left Fast. I did not hear them at all. It was windy I thanked God. Mother Nature, ect. Saw huge amounts on a river in Nebraska loved at first sight. They were noisy. Maslde me very happy to see them

    1. I just saw a very large group probably 50-100 Sandhill Crane fly over Waxahachie right next to I-35E. They circled over the house for about 10 minutes slowly moving North toward Dallas. 03/05/2023

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