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ASK THE DNR: Do sandhill cranes migrate at night?

Carroll Henderson, DNR nongame wildlife program coordinator.

Q. Last night I heard and saw what I believe was a flock of cranes. It was a dark night, with bright stars shining, but only a little moonlight. Is it common for cranes to migrate at night?

A. Sandhill cranes normally migrate during the day, but in some circumstances they have been observed migrating after dark, especially if there is a bright starlit or moonlit night sky.

A Florida field naturalist reported migratory sandhill cranes flying overhead at 10:30 p.m. and another two flocks flying overhead at 3 a.m. on the same night near Gainesville, Fla. on Nov. 25-26, 1984.

Sandhill cranes from eastern Minnesota winter in Florida and would be migrating to Florida in November.

— Carrol Henderson

Henderson is nongame wildlife program supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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