Editor's note: The county coordinators for the crane project have been updated.

Can you count a crane?

Could you count a crane? 

If you want to count cranes, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife is counting on you.

To qualify, you just need to be able to go to the designated areas in Mahoning, Trumbull, or Columbiana counties (or the 29 counties in the state) and start counting or listening. 

The ODNR Division of Wildlife is seeking volunteers for the fourth annual Midwest Crane Count on the morning of Saturday, April 13. The Division of Wildlife is working with the International Crane Foundation and Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative to conduct the survey.

This year's crane count will take place in 32 counties, including here in the Valley.


These locations were chosen for this year's host habitats, where sandhill cranes typically nest on Ohio, such as wet meadows, shallow marshes, bogs, and other wetlands.

Ohioans interested in volunteering should contact a county coordinator. In the Valley, that would be Jason Short in Mahoning County, [email protected]; Carole Babyak, [email protected] in Trumbull County; or Chuck McClaugherty, [email protected] in Columbiana County.

Volunteers only need to be available for a few hours on April 13, and will be assigned areas in designated regions to observe and count using the free eBird app for mobile or computers.

William Babb of the ODNR told 21 News that tracking and counting these threatened species is important to keep the crane population growing in Ohio.

The reasons behind the annual counting help ODNR determine if additional areas need protection for the birds to thrive.


You will be asked to scout an area, watch a virtual training video on the ODNR website, and do the morning count. A vehicle is also required.

Babb said the time selected is when cranes are most active.

The sandhill crane is listed as threatened in Ohio, but its population has increased in recent years.

According to the DNR website, sandhills are tall, wading birds with a long neck and bills. It is mostly gray feathers with a red patch on its forehead. It is often recognized by its rolling bugle call.

In 2021, the inaugural count found 160 sandhill cranes in five northeast Ohio counties.

The survey has grown each year. Last year, volunteers observed 357 sandhill cranes in 30 counties.

Ohio's cranes are seasonal and migrate south for the winter. The range of the birds extends from Mexico and Florida into Alaska and Canada, depending on the season.