Home News Ohio Volunteers Sought for Fourth Annual Midwest Crane Count

Ohio Volunteers Sought for Fourth Annual Midwest Crane Count


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife is calling on volunteers for the fourth annual Midwest Crane Count set to take place on the morning of Saturday, April 13. Collaborating with the International Crane Foundation and Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative, the Division aims to conduct a comprehensive survey across 32 counties.

The survey focuses on habitats where sandhill cranes typically nest, including wet meadows, shallow marshes, bogs, and other wetlands, spread across various counties in Ohio.

Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact a county coordinator. The commitment involves scouting an area, attending a virtual training session, and participating in the morning count. Participants of all skill levels who can identify a sandhill crane are welcome, although having a vehicle and pairing up for the survey are preferred. Some experience using the eBird community science platform is also advantageous.

The sandhill crane, listed as threatened in Ohio, has seen its population rise in recent years. However, due to their secretive nesting behavior, tracking Ohio’s breeding crane population remains a challenge. Sandhill cranes are characterized by their tall stature, long necks, gray plumage, and distinctive bugle call.

The inaugural count in 2021 recorded 160 sandhill cranes across five northeast Ohio counties, with the survey expanding each subsequent year. In 2023, volunteers observed 357 sandhill cranes across 30 counties.

Sandhill cranes are seasonal residents of Ohio, migrating south for the winter. They feed on various sources, including grain, insects, birds, small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. During migration, they form large flocks, traveling at high elevations.

Wildlife enthusiasts interested in supporting sandhill crane conservation efforts can purchase an Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp. Proceeds from stamp sales contribute to wildlife conservation projects, including habitat restoration and research initiatives. The stamp is available for purchase online through Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System and at authorized hunting and fishing license vendors.