Watch the action on the LIVE Sandhill Crane Nest Camera ... broadcasting live from Bud's Children's Desk during library hours, and streaming 24/7 for your enjoyment from anywhere else.
The camera was initially set at the site where two Greater Sandhill Cranes previously nested along the Yampa River. Rocky and Athena, our pair from last year, have been seen this spring, but are not nesting within range of the Nest Camera. Instead, a second pair, (now named Fred and Wilma) that frequented the area last year has nested within range of the camera. We watched this pair build a nest on April 11, 2022 (watch the video here), though this is not the site they ultimately chose. This nest was located at the edge of the camera’s range and was hard to see. After consulting with the experts, Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition decided to move the camera closer to the nest, being careful not to disturb the cranes. During the move, they discovered a third pair of cranes in the area, building a nest about 500 feet from the nest occupied by the Nest Camera cranes!
On April 15 they pair on camera laid their first egg in the nest, and on April 17 they laid their second egg. On Sunday, May 8 one of the eggs was lost. Hatch of the remaining egg is expected May 15-17, 2022.
History of this nesting area
Rocky and Athena's nest in the Yampa Valley was first discovered in 2020. We are unsure how old the parents are, but to our knowledge 2020 was the first time they nested in this area. In 2020, the parents were successful in hatching 2 eggs and raising both young past fledging (able to fly) and into the fall. In 2021, Rocky and Athena laid 2 eggs (on April 15 and 18), but only 1 egg hatched on May 18. They raised this chick to fledging. As of April 1, 2022, Rocky and Athena have returned to their nesting area and should begin nesting mid-April.
Warning: This is a wild sandhill crane nest and anything can happen. While we hope the nest is successful and both eggs hatch, many things can happen to prevent this, including the eggs being infertile, predation of the eggs, chicks or adults, and natural disasters. Also, a disclaimer: Live-streaming a bird nest is new territory and with that comes technical problems. We cannot control problems related to mother nature, disrupted signals, etc.
- In 2021, a pair of Greater Sandhill Cranes nested on camera, right here in the Yampa Valley. Here are the highlights of their nesting and the hatch -- clips from the 24/7 Crane Cam footage!
- Watch a recording of our interactive talk with the crane experts at Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition: Everything You Want to Know About Greater Sandhill Crane Nesting.
- Enjoy a video for third graders, their families & all the Yampa Valley craniacs! As the host of the annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival, Bud Werner Memorial Library teamed up with the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition to make an educational video about Greater Sandhill Cranes in the Yampa Valley. In non-COVID years, the region's third grade students get a live in-classroom presentation of this curriculum. We made this video for all the Northwest Colorado third graders and their families to enjoy at home, so together we can keep learning about these ancient and imposing birds that share our landscape. The 22-minute video is geared toward elementary school students, but appropriate for all ages. Stream the video at the bottom of this page.
Additional curriculum for teachers!
We've created a worksheet to guide understanding of this video and of the cranes for your students. Download the worksheet here, and find notes to teachers about the worksheet here
2022 Crane Coloring Contest
A favorite part of the annual Yampa Valley Crane Festival is the Crane Coloring Contest for kids. Ages 3 to 18 are eligible to participate. Click here for contest rules and click here to download and print the crane drawing which was designed by artist Sandi Poltorak. A contact email must be included on the back of your contest entry in order to be eligible for a prize.