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Thousands of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) roost on the Platte River, forming living sandbars, during their annual migratory stopover at the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, NE. With water in the river fully appropriated for urban areas and agriculture, many wonder how long it will be until the river runs dry. Some 600,000 to 800,000 cranes use just a few miles of the river in central Nebraska–areas that have been been mechanically cleared of the woody vegetation that the birds can’t tolerate.

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Dead Sandhill cranes at Rowe Audubon Sactuary near Kearney, Nebraska

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A biologist holds a rehabilitated Sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) at Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Kearney, Nebraska.

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An ecologist is shown in camo looking out over the Sandhill Crane roost at Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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An ecologist is shown in camo looking out over the Sandhill Crane roost at Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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An ecologist is shown in camo looking out over the Sandhill Crane roost at Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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A couple stands in front of a bird blind at Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students work on a nature craft project on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students work on a nature craft project on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students work on a nature craft project on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students work on a nature craft project on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students work on a nature craft project on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students work on a nature craft project on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students work on a nature craft project on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students work on a nature craft project on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students work on a nature craft project on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Students interact with nature on a field trip to Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska.

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Andrea Hattan’s Make-A-Wish trip with Joel Sartore. This photo was taken along the Platte River at the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Kearney, Nebraska.

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Andrea Hattan’s Make-A-Wish trip with Joel Sartore. This photo was taken along the Platte River at the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Kearney, Nebraska.

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Andrea Hattan’s Make-A-Wish trip with Joel Sartore. This photo was taken along the Platte River at the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Kearney, Nebraska.

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Sandhill cranes at the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Kearney, Nebraska.

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Sandhill cranes at the Rowe Audubon Sanctuary near Kearney, Nebraska.

Photo: Julie Jensen Director of Marketing | WVC O: 866.800.7326 | D: 702.443.9249 | E: j.jensen@wvc.org

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