Sandhill cranes gather at a roosting location along their winter migration route in Cecilia, near Elizabethtown, Kentucky. According to counts made by biologists with the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources, about 6,900 of the birds stopped in Cecilia on Tuesday night during their winter northward migration on their way to their nesting grounds in the Great Lakes Region.
These birds, which are part of the Eastern population of sandhill cranes, are part of a group estimated to be larger than 70,000 birds, many of which were wintering in Florida. The migration in Kentucky is expected to be peaking at this time based on historical data gathered by wildlife biologists with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
For the first time in nearly a century, Kentucky just completed a hunting season on sandhill cranes. The season, which ran from Dec. 17, 2011, to Jan. 15, 2012, resulted in a harvest of 50 birds. The hunting season was scheduled to fall between the southward and northward migrations in order to maximize the viewing potential of the birds but still allow for hunting opportunity