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Where to Photograph Sandhill Cranes?

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Last updated March 2011

On Manitoulin Island!

An important migratory staging ground for birds. My preferred time to visit is during fall migration, anytime between mid-September to beginning of October, when you can easily observe hundreds of Sandhill Cranes. The cranes stop to feed and rest during the crossing of the Great Lakes, so they are relatively easy to find. The best places to see them are on the farmlands of the south-central part of the island, especially the areas between Spring Bay, Providence Bay, and south of Mindemoya Lake.

During fall migration the Sandhill Cranes seem less shy, especially when they gather in large groups. Still, getting too close will likely flush the entire group. The best way to photograph the cranes is to use your car as a blind. Park safely on the side of the road, turn the engine off and turn your radio off. Use your longest lens to photograph through the open window without disturbing their feeding – these ancient birds still have a long way to go before reaching their southern wintering grounds.

Manitoulin Island - Fall Migration of Sandhill Cranes

A large group of 50+ Sandhill Cranes during fall migration feeding in a farm field around Spring Bay – Manitoulin Island.

How To Get To Manitoulin Island


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