Crane Count 2024: Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt

Experience the comeback of midwestern cranes by participating in this exciting wildlife monitoring event as part of the International Crane Foundation’s Annual Midwest Crane Count.

In partnership with the International Crane Foundation's Midwest Crane Count, Polk County Conservation is calling all bird lovers, newcomers, and avid hobbyists to assist in our annual Sandhill Crane count. Each year in mid-April, over 1,600 volunteers across the Midwest travel to their local wetlands and favorite birding locations to participate in collecting population data. This annual survey of Sandhill and Whooping Cranes spans over 120 counties in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota. In Polk County, this data provides key insights into the effectiveness of our habitat restoration efforts in our management areas.

Driving and walking routes will be available at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt to encourage encounters for all types of accessibilities. Walking routes only will be available at Brenton Slough. Participants will need to be familiar with using GPS to record locations of sightings on their phones or other device.

To learn more about the Crane Count, please consider watching the "Lunch & Learn: Crane Count 2023" by visiting or virtually attending the "Lunch and Learn: Crane Count 2024" on March 20, 2024 (RSVP at

TEAM LEADER PREREQUISITE: All team leaders will be required to attend a brief training prior to the count to become familiar with their routes, sharpen their identification skills, and to learn about reporting procedures.

ACTIVITY: Wildlife monitoring – Sandhill Crane population data collection

ECOLOGICAL IMPACT: Wildlife, slough habitat



DEADLINE: Register by April 8. If the event is at capacity, contact Volunteer Coordinators to inquire about participation.


AGES: All ages welcome. Ages under 16 with adult supervision. No experience necessary and all training provided.

WHAT TO BRING:  It is recommended to dress for the weather. Wear long pants and closed-toe sturdy shoes. In an effort to promote sustainability at this event, please bring a refillable water bottle. Also bring binoculars and a smart phone or device with GPS capabilities.


Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt | Park Map  | Natural Resources Headquarters

6:00 AM - 6:30 AM: Volunteer sign-in and introductions | 6:30 AM - 8:30 AM: Crane count

EVENT PARTNER: International Crane Foundation  & Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation


Polk County Conservation strives to host inclusive, accessible events and meetings that enable all individuals to participate. If you anticipate needing a modification due to a disability or have questions about accessibility, please contact us at 515-323-5300 or

Volunteer, Wildlife, Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, Ages Under 5, Ages 5-7, Ages 8-17, Adults, Senior Adults, Slough Habitat

Upcoming Times

This event is not currently scheduled.