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Fall Crane Viewing in Southern Michigan

October through November

Sandhill Crane viewing takes place at locations throughout southern lower Michigan.  We recommend visiting Haehnle Sanctuary in Jackson County and the Bernard W. Baker Sanctuary in Calhoun County.  Both properties are owned and managed by Michigan Audubon.

Fall Crane Viewing Details:

  • Crane viewing at the Kiwanis Youth Conservation Area, adjacent to Baker Sanctuary, begins the weekend after CraneFest, October 18 and 19.  Crane viewing continues every Saturday and Sunday through November 9.  Hours for crane viewing are from 4:00PM – dusk .

    • The Sandhill Cranes at Big Marsh Lake (Baker Sanctuary) are usually 100 – 200 yards in the distance.  Spectacular views of birds can be had with the naked eye, but binoculars will enhance the viewing experience.  Photographers enjoy this site because of the proximity of the viewing station to the birds.
  • Crane viewing at Michigan Audubon’s Phyllis Haehnle Sanctuary in Jackson County (located across the road from 9011 Seymour Rd., Grass Lake, MI  49240) occurs daily from dawn until dusk.  Members of the Haehnle Stewardship Committee of Jackson Audubon will be available on weekends beginning at 4:00 PM in October and the first two weekends in November to assist visitors with finding Sandhill Cranes.  The additional opportunity to see an Endangered Whooping Crane may exist at Haehnle Sanctuary.
  • The Sandhill Cranes at Haehnle Sanctuary are usually a quarter-mile in the distance.  Binoculars or a spotting scope are highly recommended for watching the birds are this site.

    • On October 18 join members of the Haehnle Stewardship Committee of Jackson Audubon for Cranes, Colors, and Cabernet.  This event will include guided hikes of Haehnle Sanctuary, car caravan tours to see Sandhill Cranes feeding, crane natural history lectures, and the evening fly-in of cranes to Mud Lake Marsh. Sandhill Crane Vineyards, 4724 Walz Road, Jackson, will pre-release their 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon just for the day. It will be available for tasting and purchasing just this day and then goes back into storage until its normal January release. The winery will be open until 7:30 PM this day only.
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