Thank you for your interest in participating in Maryland’s first Sandhill Crane Fall Survey. This year the survey will be conducted between October 29 and November 2.

Download the Sandhill Crane protocol guide

Download the data entry sheet


  1. Review identification: Know plumage differences between adults and juveniles, learn their call. Review the distinguishing characteristics between cranes, great blue herons and similar species. For help on identification, visit PA’s Sandhill Crane Identification Page.

  2. Pick survey location: Know optimal habitat and scout likely locations in your area. Check with other birdwatchers or farmers about local sightings. Secure permission from landowners if private property must be crossed during survey.

  3. When to survey: Survey should be conducted from October 29 and November 2. Cranes can be tallied during the day as they forage in fields in small groups. Carefully indicate the time and location of survey on data form. Each site should be surveyed only once.

  4. Use good observation etiquette: Do not approach or disturb birds. Cranes can be seen at a considerable distance, and should be monitored with binoculars or spotting scopes.

  5. Submit your observations: Please submit observations regardless of whether you find Sandhill Cranes or not. If you go to a likely spot and find NO cranes, please provide all information requested, and simply indicate “0” for cranes observed. Complete as many fields of the data form as possible, including coordinates and your contact information. Options for submitting your observations are:

    1. Complete the online data form

    2. If you prefer a paper form, download and print the datasheet; scan and email this document to direct.

Thank you for your help in spreading awareness about this effort. If you have any questions, please email

Large Waterbird I.D. Guide, Courtesy of the International Crane Foundation

Large Waterbird I.D. Guide, Courtesy of the International Crane Foundation