3 exciting options for Whooping Crane and Sandhill Crane Viewing Tours ♿

Whooping Crane and Sandhill Crane Tours ♿

Private  1-day and 2-day Tours: Mid September - Late October

Group Tour: Sunday, October 2, 2022

8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Self-Drive Escorted Birding Tour

Daily Estimated Driving Distance: 400 km


Grain fields near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada have become the best dependable viewing location in the world to view rare Whooping Cranes, the tallest bird in North America. As local birders, we know the best historical places to search for these spectacular birds. All proceeds support Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation charity.

For many years, our Saskatchewan Whooping Crane tours led by Stan Shadick have found groups of 10 - 30 birds feeding during fall migration. In 2018, we found a single flock in excess of 150 whoopers! In 2019 and 2020, there were several flocks totaling over 100 individuals. In 2021, between 30 and 100 individuals were present during our tours between September 17 and October 24.

The population recovery of the endangered Whooping Crane has become a tremendous success story for wildlife conservation. The Canadian population of these birds once dipped as low as 15 individuals but now exceeds 500 birds. In 2021, a record number of 102 nests were counted on their breeding grounds in Wood Buffalo National Park and 50 young cranes were counted at the end of summer.

In 2022, we are planning both 1-day and 2-day custom private tours from mid-September through mid-October to look for Whooping Cranes and/or Sandhill Cranes. These 2 species are usually found in different locations. We often find Sandhills in flocks of 500 to several thousand. We will also be on the lookout for large flocks of Canada, Cackling, Snow, Ross's and Greater White-fronted Geese as well as ducks, swans plus songbirds including Harris's Sparrow and Rusty Blackbird. You may view the birds using our high quality spotting scope.

♿ This tour is ideal for low-mobility clients because they may remain in their vehicle during this driving tour.


  1. Your tour leader is fully vaccinated. For everyone's health and safety, participants must bring a paper copy showing their personal proof of full Covid vaccination.
  2. Clients must normally drive themselves in their own personal or rented vehicle. The leader will usually drive in a separate vehicle. We will use cell phones to communicate between each other during the tour.
  3. Please wear a mask and maintain physical 2 meter distancing when walking outside or viewing birds through the spotting scope that I will set up.
  4. This policy may change when public health orders change or when Covid case numbers decrease.
  5. Please contact us before booking tour if you have any special requests with regard to this policy. In certain cases, if requested, leader may be willing to ride in client's vehicle or drive client's vehicle.


What to Wear. In case of an early snowfall or cool wet weather, bring a winter coat, raincoat, hat, gloves and long underwear. Bring your binoculars and a scope (optional).


Click to hear Calgary Naturalist Brian Keating on CBC Calgary giving his review of a recent Whooping Crane tour he booked with us.

Canadian Geographic Travel Article:  Click to read "A Saskatchewan road trip in search of Whooping Cranes"

Canadian Geographic Article. Click Here.

"Thanks again for a terrific couple of days of birding" (Ian T)

"We had such a fantastic time and learned so much from you. We will be back for other tours in the future"  (Paulette M)

"Once again thanks Stan. Many long lasting memories." (Bob P)


TOUR FEE for private 2-day tour excluding transportation: CAD $1330 (about US $1040)
for groups of 1 – 4 persons. Fee includes only guiding services (8 hours/day) of leader and shared use of spotting scope. Client must cover their transportation costs in their personal or rented vehicle. Guide will travel in a separate vehicle. We can communicate via cell phone. Accommodation and meals are not included.. Email birdtours@sasktel.net for information about payment options. We will stop to pick up food for lunch. Masks to be worn when outside your vehicle.

TOUR FEE for  private 1-day tour excluding transportation:  CAD $690 (about US $540)
for groups of 1 – 4 persons. Fee includes only guiding services (8 hours/day) of leader and shared use of spotting scope. Client must cover transportation costs in their personal or rented vehicle. Guide will travel in a separate vehicle. We can communicate via cell phone. Accommodation and meals are not included. The 1-day tour available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays will focus on looking for Whooping Cranes but likely will not find Sandhill Cranes. Masks to be worn when outside your vehicle.

BUDGET TOUR FEE for October 2, 2022 public tour excluding transportation:  CAD $490 (about USD $380) for 1 person or $590 (about USD $480) for groups of 2 - 4 persons travelling in a single vehicle.

Unlike the previous private "family" tours, participants in this 8-hour public tour will join a group of whooping crane enthusiasts in a small convoy of up to 6 vehicles.  Your position in convoy determined by date of payment.

Tour starts at 8 am and returns to Saskatoon about 4 pm. Fee includes guiding services (8 hours/day) of leader and shared use of spotting scope . Client must cover transportation costs in their personal or rented vehicle. Guide will travel in a separate vehicle. We can communicate via cell phone app. Accommodation and meals are not included. This 1-day tour will focus on looking for Whooping Cranes. Masks to be worn when outside your vehicle.

TAX RECEIPT: A tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee will be issued to the person paying for the tour.

CANCELLATION POLICY: Refunds less a $100 administration fee will be given if cancellation notice received 60 days before date of tour.
No refunds if cancellation notice received less than 60 days before date of tour unless another client takes your place.

All guiding fee proceeds will be donated to Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation.


Reservations: Complete the form below or email: birdtours@sasktel.net and provide names of clients, their addresses and requested type of tour and tour date.
Full payment due at time of booking. You may also phone Stan Shadick at 306-652-5975.

2022 Tour Reservation Request Form

If you do not have a cell phone, enter your land line.
Mailing Address needed for tax receipt.
2-DAY TOUR DATES:: Sep 19-20; 21-22; 26-27; Oct;11-12; 13-14. 1-DAY TOUR DATES: Sep 17, 18, 23, 25, Oct 1, 7, 10, 15, 16, BUDGET TOUR DATE: Oct 2

If you do not hear back from us within 24 hours, then please email: birdtours@sasktel.net or phone 306-652-5975.

Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane - Photo by Bruce Acton

Whoopers and Sandhills

Whooping Cranes flying above Sandhill Cranes by Nick Saunders

Whooping Cranes in grain field

Whooping Cranes by Nick Saunders

Large flock of Whoopers

Part of a flock of 154 Whooping Cranes photographed by Bob Godwin.

Snow Geese flock

Snow Geese by Bob Godwin.

Why book a Whooping Crane tour with Saskatoon Custom Bird Tours?

  1. Your guide has over 30 years experience in leading birding tours to observe these magnificent birds. Although Whoopers often move to different locations at different times of the day and on different days of the week and during different years, he will lead you to the most likely spots to find them.
  2. Your guide will show you how to use special techniques to observe nearby Whooping Cranes responsibly without disturbing these endangered birds. A spotting scope may be used to observe birds that are far away from the vehicle.
  3. You can learn how to use field marks and sounds to identify the cranes, swans, geese (up to 5 species), ducks, scoters, loons, grebes, eagles and other raptors, longspurs plus many songbirds including Harris's Sparrow. Your guide will take you to the best locations for finding these species during your tour.
  4. You will learn about the history of Whooping Crane Conservation in North America and the current conservation issues facing these birds. The Canadian Wildlife Service has played an important role in this conservation success story. Your guide is an experienced researcher of wild birds and has received awards for his activities in the wildlife conservation movement.
  5. Because your tour leader volunteers his time to lead these tours, all of your tour fee is used by our local wildlife rehabilitation centre to help pay the cost of food, medicine and hiring of summer students needed to care for injured birds and small manmals harmed by human activities.
  6. You will receive a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee.
  7. We still have openings for tours during the next week and are also taking bookings for next year.


This tour makes an excellent birthday gift, anniversary gift, graduation gift, father's day gift or special gift for a birder, birdwatcher or anyone interested in nature.

Click here for information about purchasing a gift certificate for this tour or any of our other tours.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT: Anyone who books any whooping crane tour during 2022 is eligible for a 20% discount off any Prairie Lakes Birding tour bookings between October 25 and November 7, 2022.



Other Tours and Workshops: Click here to see a complete list of our upcoming tours and workshops.


Can't decide which tour to take?

Check out our multiple tours discount described here.


Air: Saskatoon International Airport (YXE) is served by Air Canada, Westjet, and their partners United and Delta.

Train: Saskatoon's  Train Station is served by Via Rail's Canadian train serving Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper and Vancouver.

Bus: Saskatoon - Edmonton and Saskatoon - Regina bus service

Car: Saskatoon is located on Canada's Yellowhead cross-country highway plus 6 other major highways connecting with all cities in Canada and USA. If you drive, you do not need to rent a car for our tours.