Exploring Indiana Sandhill Cranes and Dunes

Team Leaders: Wendy Tori, Jose Pareja, Bill Buskirk, Kevin Schmidt, Joel Hogle

Latest trip... Novemeber 2011

For several years now the Earlham community has made a trek to northwestern Indiana to observe the fall concentrations of SANDHILL CRANES at Jasper-Pulaski State Fish and Wildlife Area and enjoy the natural settings in which this phenomena occurs.  The birds are majestic and awe-inspiring.  Their numbers can be spectacular.  The sight and sound of this phenomenon is likely to be among your “lifetime” experiences!  Like so many things we can read and study about indirectly, this is one that true, direct experience enhances by orders of magnitudes... Often times explorations of the amazing Indiana Sand Dunes becomes part of this experience, come and joing us! (See report(s) at the end of the page for detail account of the experience).

...We left Earlham at 7:00am and rendezvoused around 10:30 at Jasper-Pulaski State Fish and Game Area south of Michigan City, Indiana. The leaders gave introductions on how to use binoculars and some general information about Sandhill Cranes and their migratory habits. After that, we slowly drove the rural roads outside the refuge to observe flocks of cranes feeding in agricultural fields. An amazing display of Sandhill “parachuting” took place while doing this...

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"I am so grateful for the opportunity to go with students and colleagues... to see a stunning migration in my own state. My husband and I commented again and again on our way home how lucky we were to see the variety of flora and fauna, to learn from students and colleagues, to meet the range of students including international students." ... (Kari & Family)
"Not only was it absolutely breathtaking to see so many birds at once, in one spot, I was also struck by them as individuals. They are beautiful and fascinating animals and I am so glad I got the opportunity to see them." (Emily)


Around 4pm the group went to a public viewing platform to watch the cranes aggregate on a large pasture and the nearby cornfields. Thousands of cranes arrived from feeding areas in all directions. Many flew right over our heads. The cranes gathered a bit further from the platform than most years, but people were still able to grasp the magnitude of the group while also being able to observe individual cranes with the spotting scopes. Several folks on the trip had never seen this aggregation... Thanks again to Vicki and her family for making this possible.

(Team Leader's, 2011)

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Date Team Leader(s) Report
November 2011 Wendy T., Jose P., Bill Buskirk, Kevin Schmidt, Joel Hogle PDF
November 2010 Wendy Tori, Bill Buskirk, Brent Smith PDF
November 2009 Wendy Tori and Bill Buskirk PDF
November 2008 Bill Buskirk and Wendy Tori PDF


Earlham College · 801 National Road West · Richmond, Indiana 47374-4095, U.S.
Department of Biology · Phone: (765) 983-1210 · Fax: (765) 983-1497