Watch sandhill cranes gather in spring and fall
Every spring and fall, a group of sandhill cranes gather in the wetlands of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy on the north side of Middleton, Wis. It is just one part of their great migration between their winter homes in the southeastern U.S. and their breeding grounds in Wisconsin.
The Conservancy Camera, or Crane Cam, provides a live view of their early morning and late evening activities. During the day, these great, gray birds leave the Conservancy to find food.
The cranes arrive in mid-February and stay through March before dispersing to raise their young. They gather again in September, with their numbers peaking in mid-November.
The solar-powered camera, located parallel to a multi-use trail in the Conservancy, operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but may be impacted by weather and intermittent streaming interruptions. A closer view can be hovering the cursor over the live feed and scrolling up and down. The Crane Cam is a partnership between ATC, the city of Middleton and the Friends of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy.
About sandhill cranes
Sandhill cranes are large, vocal birds about 3-5 feet tall with a wingspan that can be of 5-7 feet. They are light and sleek, weighing between 6.5-14 pounds. Adults have a red patch on their foreheads, black legs and feathers in varying shades of grey and brown. Only a few decades ago, sandhill cranes were a rare sight in Wisconsin. But since then, their population has grown to about 50,000 sandhill cranes in Wisconsin alone.
ATC’s avian protection program
Transmission lines can present a possible safety risk for migratory birds and compromise the reliability of the electric transmission system. At ATC, we identify migratory paths and areas of heavy avian use so we can consider and take steps to better protect birds and minimize potential impacts on our transmission equipment. Watch this video to learn more about our Avian Protection Program.
Support the Conservancy
Pheasant Branch Conservancy is a regionally significant natural area located on the north side of Middleton, Wis. It contains a marsh with open water, springs, prairies, meadows, lowland forest and wooded hills. These various habitats sustain a wide variety of plants and animals, including some of that are threatened and endangered. You can support the Friends of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy by becoming a member or donating to the Glen Pulver Education Endowment Fund.