Saskatchewan Whooping Cranes with Canadian Geographic

Sandhill cranes migration
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Departing Oct 4, 2024

In October, sandhill cranes migrate by the thousands south across southern Saskatchewan, stopping at various localities to refuel before continuing their journey. With them are a handful of whooping cranes, coming south from breeding grounds in Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories.

We have a good chance of finding whooping cranes on our birding tour as there is a fine network of field observers scouting the area for these legendary birds. Along with cranes, tens of thousands of snow geese and Canada geese, with lesser numbers of Ross’s, greater white-fronted and cackling geese, are pouring through, as well as other waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors and passerines, especially large flocks of lapland longspurs with snow buntings and possibly northern shrikes.

If time permits and we have seen whooping cranes well, we will venture to Prince Albert National Park and the boreal forest, where we will have chances for boreal specialties like spruce grouse, pileated, black-backed and American three-toed woodpecker, Canada jay, boreal chickadee, bohemian waxwing, and occasionally pine or evening grosbeak, or white-winged crossbill. We also have the possibility to see moose, elk and sometimes river otters.


Day 1: Arrival in Saskatchewan
Days 2 – 3: Whooping Crane Search
Day 4: Birding around Saskatoon and drive to Prince Albert National Park
Day 5: Prince Albert National Park
Day 6: Departure


Meet your RCGS Travel Ambassador

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Wilson Bearhead

Wilson Bearhead is Nakota, a member of the Wabamun Lake First Nation in Treaty 6 territory and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He is the co-author of the children’s book series, Siha Tooskin Knows and the recent recipient of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation Indigenous Elder Award. Wilson has served as Chief in his own community, Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty 6 as well as the Assembly of First Nations Alberta Regional Chief. Wilson was the first Elder in Residence for Edmonton Public Libraries before moving to serve as the Elder for Elk Island Public Schools for 4 years. Mr. Bearhead has served his people for many years in ceremony, is a singer and still loves to dance pow wow in the men’s traditional category. Wilson’s grandmother Annie was a powerful, positive influence in his young life, teaching him all of the lessons that gave him the strength, knowledge, and skills to overcome difficult times and embrace the gifts of life.