Watch Party: The 2024 Sandhill Crane Nest Camera

Crane Video
Watch the live Crane Nest Camera this spring, and learn about the Greater Sandhill Cranes of Northwest Colorado

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.

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. We cannot control problems related to mother nature, disrupted signals, etc.

History of this crane nesting area

The camera is at the site where Greater Sandhill Cranes have previously nested along the Yampa River. Sandhill Cranes will return to the same general area every year to nest and typically build a nest in the same or similar spot. Nests are simple, mound-like platforms made of marsh plants, grasses and weeds piled on the ground in marshes or wet meadows. Sandhill Cranes in Colorado usually lay two eggs in late April or early May and incubate these eggs for about 30 days. Both crane parents will help in incubating the eggs and caring for the young once they hatch. When the eggs hatch, Sandhill Crane chicks are able to see, are covered in down feathers, and are able to walk within a few hours. After about a day, the chicks will leave the nest with their parents.

  •  In 2023 the Nest Camera focused on Athena and Rocky, the crane pair that has nested in the area for the past 3 years and that we watched during the 2021 Nest Camera season. Winter's long and persistent snow delayed nesting for this pair and many other crane pairs in Colorado. Athena and Rocky laid their first egg on April 23 even though very minimal nest building occurred before this. The second egg was laid a few days later. Athena and Rocky persistently incubated their nest, taking turns, for over 30 days. The week before the eggs hatched, the water level rose in the wetland and caused the cranes to build up their nest with more cattails. On May 25th, both eggs hatched and Cinnamon and Sage were born! Typically, the eggs hatch on different days, but both eggs hatched on the same day this year. The next day, on May 26th, Athena left the nest with the two chicks.
  • In 2022, a new pair of Greater Sandhill Cranes (a.k.a. Fred and Wilma) nested near the 2021 spot. We watched this pair build a nest on April 11, 2022, 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 the 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, but the second egg hatched and we enjoyed many spring days observing the little colt.
  • In 2021, a pair of Greater Sandhill Cranes (a.k.a. Rocky and Athena) nested for the first time on camera here in the Yampa Valley.

Learn more about crane nesting!

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.

2024 Crane Coloring Contest

2024 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 to download and print the crane drawing which was designed by artist Megan Westerkamp. The coloring page will also be available at the Bud Werner Library Children's Desk!



Crane School: Watch the Greater Sandhill Crane Educational Presentation

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. All of the region's third grade students get a live in-classroom presentation of this curriculum. The 22-minute video is geared toward elementary school students, but appropriate for all ages. Stream the video below.

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.

Produced by Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition & Bud Werner Library

Run Time: 

22 minutes