We awoke before dawn and dressed like duck hunters in a palette of browns, beiges, and grays. The attire was a hopeful gesture of not being seen, even inside a bird blind, on our pilgrimage to witness the great migration of Sandhill Cranes along the Platte River in Nebraska. It was a spring ritual, both human and wild. More than half a million cranes descend along this meandering river through marshes and cornfields. Thousands of visitors come to watch.

Tom Mangelsen, the legendary wildlife photographer known for his Images of Nature imprint, was our guide. Tom grew up on the Nebraska prairie; Sandhill Cranes have always been part of his weather system. Now he returns each year with the cranes and shares this spectacle with others 
in his family’s decades-old duck hunting blind on the edge of the Platte.

(Click on any blind to launch a photo viewer and discover the structure's story.)