Photos of the week: cranes, herons, and eagles on the Wisconsin River

Sandhill cranes Wisconsin River

A pair of sandhill cranes fly across the horizon

The Lower Wisconsin River valley is a wonderful 92 mile stretch of river from Sauk City to the confluence with the Mississippi at Prairie Du Chien. For birdwatchers the stretch is a paradise. Cranes, herons, and eagles are the big three seen most frequently.

Bald eagles seem to fly off of a dead tree around every curve, the woody woodpecker laugh of the pileated woodpecker cries from the woods, and sandhill cranes croak from sandbars and inland marshes. These are just a few of the highlights as the diversity is incredible.

Three of the biggest birds you will find along the river and, thanks to conservation efforts, some of the most common are the bald eagle, the great blue heron, and the sandhill crane.Great blue herons have always been common here, but the comeback of the bald eagle and the sandhill crane to the area has been stunning.

Bald eagle Wisconsin River

Bald eagle along the Wisconsin River

Back in the 1980s it was a rare sight to see an eagle along the river. Now there are hundreds of nests along this stretch of river and it is almost impossible not to see an eagle. The same can be said of the sandhill crane.

Great blue heron Wisconsin River

Great blue heron senses our approach

Great blue heron Wisconsin River

Great blue heron takes off down the Wisconsin River

Sandhill cranes on the Wisconsin River

Sandhill cranes on the Wisconsin River

Bald eagle along the Wisconsin River

Bald eagle along the Wisconsin River

Best way to check out the bird life along the river is to take a canoe trip. Check out Wisconsin River Outings for canoe rental and transportation.


The goal of Traveling Ted is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then enter your email in the box to get email notifications for each new entry. Daily travel photos are excluded from your email in order to not flood you with posts. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).

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About Traveling Ted

Ted Nelson has been adventure traveling since he was 10 years old on camping trips with his Dad to places like the Great Smoky Mountains, The Everglades, and Big Bend National Park. In 2005 he added international travel to his repertoire with a three month trip to Southeast Asia.

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