Sandhill Cranes in Alabama 2023: Everything You Need to Know

Sandhill Cranes in Alabama 2023: Everything You Need to Know

By Akash 8 Min Read

Alabama is one of the best places to see sandhill cranes. Hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes migrate through the state every spring and fall.

Sandhill cranes have been in Alabama for thousands of years. However, their population declined dramatically in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to hunting and habitat loss. By the 1970s, only a few hundred sandhill cranes were left in Alabama.

In this blog post, I will discuss everything about sandhill cranes in Alabama including:

  • Where to See Sandhill Cranes in Alabama?
  • Best Time to See Sandhill Cranes in Alabama?
  • Sandhill Cranes Migration Alabama 2023
  • How Many Sandhill Cranes Are in Alabama Now?
  • Everything about Alabama Crane Seasons 2023

Sandhill Cranes in Alabama 2023

We all know that sandhill cranes are migratory birds. They spend their summer months in Canada and Alaska.

When fall comes, sandhill cranes migrate south to Alabama and other warm states. But when spring comes they come back north.

In 2023, the sandhill crane population in Alabama is powerful, with over 14,000 birds in the wintering in the state.

Where to See Sandhill Cranes in Alabama?

Where to See Sandhill Cranes in Alabama
Image: Best Place to See Sandhill Cranes in Alabama

You can easily see sandhill cranes in many different parts of Alabama. They are common in the wetlands of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.

Also, you can easily find Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska and Alabama in the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge.

LocationAddressBest Time to VisitNotes
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge2700 Refuge Headquarters Road, Decatur, AL 35603November – FebruaryThousands of Sandhill Cranes gather here during the winter months.
Mobile-Tensaw DeltaMobile-Tensaw Delta, Mobile, ALNovember – MarchLook for them in open wetlands and along waterways.
Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge367 Highway 165, Eufaula, AL 36027November – FebruaryOffers excellent birdwatching opportunities.
Weiss LakeCentre, ALNovember – MarchSandhill Cranes can often be spotted near the lake.
Dauphin IslandDauphin Island, ALNovember – MarchCoastal areas and marshes are good for sightings.
table: where to see sandhill cranes in Alabama

Please note that the best time to see Sandhill Cranes in Alabama is during their winter migration, typically from November to March.

Be sure to check for specific birdwatching guidelines and hours of operation for each location before planning your visit.

Best Time to See Sandhill Cranes in Alabama?

The best time to see sandhill cranes in Alabama is during the winter months, from November to March.

In that time they are migrating through the state. They always migrate in large flocks, and they are often seen feeding in the fields and marshes.

Alabama Crane Seasons 2023

The Sandhill Crane hunting season in Alabama for 2023-2024 offers hunters a unique opportunity to engage with this majestic migratory bird.

Before you embark on your crane hunting adventure, it is very important to understand the regulations, dates, and requirements to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Hunters must apply for and obtain a sandhill crane permit in order to hunt sandhill cranes in Alabama. Permits are available online through the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) website.

1. Season Dates

The Sandhill Crane hunting season is split into two segments for the 2023-2024 season:

  • Segment 1: December 2-7, 2023
  • Segment 2: January 15-30, 2024

2. Bag Limits

During both segments of the season, hunters are allowed a daily bag limit of three (3) Sandhill Cranes per permit holder. The season bag limit is also three (3) Sandhill Cranes per permit holder. Keep in mind that permits are non-transferable.

3. Required Documents

To participate in Sandhill Crane hunting in Alabama, hunters must possess the following documents:

  • A valid Alabama hunting license
  • A valid Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp
  • A Sandhill Crane hunting permit

These documents are essential and must be in your possession while hunting.

4. Hunting Zone

Sandhill Cranes can be hunted in all counties in Alabama north of Interstate 20, except for specific counties. The excluded counties are:

  • Autauga
  • Barbour
  • Bullock
  • Butler
  • Choctaw
  • Clarke
  • Conecuh
  • Covington
  • Crenshaw
  • Dale
  • Dallas
  • Elmore
  • Escambia
  • Geneva
  • Henry
  • Houston
  • Lee
  • Lowndes
  • Macon
  • Marengo
  • Montgomery
  • Pike
  • Russell
  • Sumter
  • Tallapoosa
  • Wilcox

Before heading out, make sure you are aware of the hunting zones and the specific areas where hunting is permitted.

Sandhill Cranes Migration Alabama 2023

Sandhill Cranes Migration Alabama
Image: Sandhill Cranes Migration Alabama 2023

Sandhill cranes are migratory birds, and they spend their summers in Canada and Alaska. In the fall, sandhill cranes migrate south to Alabama and other warm states. Sandhill cranes migrate back north in the spring.

Sandhill cranes migrate long distances, and they can travel up to 2,000 miles in a single day. Sandhill cranes fly in V-formations to help conserve energy.

Migration Timing: Sandhill Cranes start arriving in Alabama in October and stay until February or March.

Best Viewing Spots: If you want to witness this migration, consider visiting these prime locations:

  1. Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge: Near Decatur, this refuge hosts thousands of Sandhill Cranes from November to February.
  2. Mobile-Tensaw Delta: You can spot Sandhill Cranes in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and surrounding wetlands from November to March.
  3. Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge near Eufaula is also an excellent place for birdwatching during migration season.

Habitat: Sandhill Cranes prefer open wetlands, marshes, and waterways for foraging and resting.

Behavior: During migration, they form distinctive V-shaped formations and feed on grains, seeds, and small creatures found in wetlands.

Conservation: Remember that Sandhill Cranes are a protected species. Observe them from a respectful distance, and avoid disturbing their habitat or behavior.

Local Resources: Check with local birdwatching groups, wildlife refuges, or the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for current information on crane sightings and viewing areas.


Sandhill cranes are beautiful and fascinating birds. They are an important part of the Alabama ecosystem, and they are a joy to see. If you’re ever in Alabama during the winter months, be sure to keep an eye out for sandhill cranes.

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By Akash
My name is Akash (AB). I am a 22-year-old student. I love birds so much. I created this website to provide better and quality information about Crane species. You know there are 15 Crane species in the world right now. I started a path to introduce you to Cranes one by one. My another website about bird species is:
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