Saskatchewan Whooping Crane Tours – Best selection for 2023

Saskatchewan Whooping Crane Tours

Saskatchewan Whooping Crane Tours

  • Private Whooping Crane Tours
  • Group Whooping Crane Tours
  • 1-day and 2-day Whooping Crane tour packages
  • 2-day packages best for seeing both Whooping Cranes and Sandhill Cranes flocks
  • Local Guide has 50 years experience leading Saskatchewan Whooping Crane tours!
  • Drive your own vehicle for best viewing opportunities (no crowded vans)
  • Best selection of tour dates
  • Car pooling option available to share costs
  • Partial Tax Receipt (All proceeds support Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation charity)

When are the best dates to view Saskatchewan Whooping Cranes?

  • Whooping Cranes can regularly be observed near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada between September 20 and October 20. Whooping Cranes might also be found earlier and later than these dates.
  • Best Whooping Crane tour dates for warm weather and scenic fall colours are September 20 - 28.
  • Best Whooping Crane tour dates for maximum numbers are usually October 7 - 22.
  • Best Whooping Crane tour dates for best photography conditions (minimum heat haze): October 10 - 22.

Testimonials

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

"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)

"We just wanted to thank you again for a most enjoyable tour last week.  The whooping cranes, of course, were the highlight, but we also found your history of the cranes quite fascinating.  Over the years, we had heard some of the recovery story, but the original breeding across the prairies was a surprise. And we hadn’t heard about all of the early attempts to help the recovery. As you said, it would be great to see breeding resume in Saskatchewan, and possibly other areas as well.

We also appreciated the opportunity to see several species that only appear in southern Ontario as “rarities” or “accidentals”. Always nice to see birds we haven’t seen in a long time.

Thanks again for all your patient help and guiding." DJ & SJ

Fees for Saskatchewan Whooping Crane Tours

FEE for private 2-day Whooping and Sandhill Crane tour excluding transportation: CAD $1330 (about US $1040,  £870) for a party of 1 – 4 persons. Fee includes only guiding services (8 hours/day) of leader and shared use of spotting scope.  This fee is the total fee for your party. Clients cover their transportation costs in their personal or rented vehicle. Choose whether guide travels in your vehicle or in a separate vehicle. Cell phones communication option. Accommodation and meals are not included.. Email birdtours@sasktel.net for information about payment options. We will stop to pick up food for lunch.  This 2-day option is the preferred choice for observing both Whooping and Sandhill Cranes.

FEE for  private 1-day Whooping Crane tour excluding transportation:  CAD $690 (about US $540, £450) for a party of 1 – 4 persons. Fee includes only guiding services (8 hours/day) of leader and shared use of spotting scope. Clients must cover transportation costs in their personal or rented vehicle. Guide will travel in a separate vehicle. or ride in your vehicle, if your prefer We can communicate via hands-fee cell phone. Accommodation and meals are not included. The 1-day tour will focus on looking for Whooping Cranes but likely will not find many Sandhill Cranes.

FEE for  private 1/2-day Sandhill Crane tour excluding transportation:  CAD $390 (about US $290, £255) for a party of 1 – 4 persons. Fee includes only guiding services (4 hours/day) of leader and shared use of spotting scope. Client must cover transportation costs in their personal or rented vehicle. Guide may travel in a separate vehicle or ride in your vehicle, if you prefer. We can communicate between vehicles via hands-free cell phone. Accommodation and meals are not included. The 1/2-day tour will focus on looking for Sandhill Cranes near Saskatoon.

BUDGET FEE for October 1, 2023 public Whooping Crane group tour excluding transportation:  CAD $490 (about USD $380, £320) for 1 person or $590 (about USD $480, £390) for a party of 2 - 4 persons travelling in a single car or truck. RVs are not suitable on group tours. Unlike the previous private 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.

Tour starts about 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 may travel in a separate vehicle. If so, we can communicate via cell phone app. Accommodation and meals are not included. This 1-day public 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 $50 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.

Saskatchewan Whooping Cranes

Wheat 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 find these spectacular birds.

For many decades, our Saskatchewan Whooping Crane tours led by Stan Shadick have dependably found the locations where these birds feed and rest during fall migration.  Whooping Cranes normally raise at most a single young bird. During our 2022 tours, we found up to 3 families with twins!

The recovery of the endangered Whooping Crane population in Canada 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 2022, 95 nests were counted on their breeding grounds in Wood Buffalo National Park and 68 young cranes were counted at the end of summer.

In 2023, we are planning both 1-day and 2-day private whooping crane tours from mid-September through late-October to look for Whooping Cranes and/or Sandhill Cranes. These 2 species of cranes 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.  We regularly find several roosting flocks containing over 100,000 Snow Geese! You may view the birds using our high quality spotting scope.

Most of our out of province guests prefer to book our 2-day whooping crane tour for the best chances for observing flocks of both Whooping and Sandhill Cranes. The 2-day tour option also provides a second chance to view more Whoopers on the second day at additional locations.

♿ These Saskatchewan whooping crane tours are ideal for low-mobility clients because they may remain in their vehicle during this driving tour.

Because cranes sometimes move to different locations on different dates, we cannot absolutely guarantee finding whoopers on any tour. Nevertheless, our guide has always found Whooping Cranes on every previous Whooping Crane tour.

Whooping Crane with outstetched wings
Photo by Bruce Acton

 

 

Why book a Whooping Crane Viewing tour with us?

  1. LOCAL EXPERIENCE. Your guide has 50 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. ETHICS. 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. LEARN ID TIPS. You can learn how to use field marks and sounds to identify the cranes, swans, geese (up to 5 species), ducks, grebes, eagles and other raptors, longspurs plus many songbirds. Your guide will take you to the best locations for finding these species during your tour.
  4. LEARN ABOUT CONSERVATION. 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. BEST VEHICLE FOR OBSERVING. We believe that your personal or rented vehicle will usually provide a better observing experience during your tour than the crowded expensive vans offered by some out-of-province companies. Often dark tinted van windows cannot be rolled down to provide optimal conditions for viewing and photography.
  6. WILDLIFE CHARITY. Because your tour leader volunteers his time to lead these tours, all of your tour fee is used by our local wildlife rehabilitation center to help pay the cost of food, medicine and hiring of summer students needed to care for injured birds and small mammals harmed by human activities.
  7. TAX RECEIPTS. You will receive a tax receipt for 50% of the tour fee.

Can you photograph Whooping Cranes during our tours?

YES. You are welcome to bring your camera on our tours.

During our tours, we ensure that the Whooping Cranes are not harassed by our actions. We stay on public roads and do not trespass on private fields. Because Whooping Cranes are often alarmed if they see humans walking in the open, we take special precautions to avoid such disturbance. If the birds are relatively close to a road, then we require our guests to remain inside their vehicle or hide behind trees or vehicles, when attempting to obtain photos.

Sometimes guests with good experience in bird photography can obtain excellent photos or videos using telephoto lenses. Sometimes a combination of heat haze, weather conditions and distance to cranes may not permit suitable photographic conditions. For this reason, we do not advertise this tour as a photography tour. Often conditions for photography improve during cooler days in mid to late October.

What to Wear

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). Cameras are optional.

 

Photo by Bob Godwin

Transportation

Participants on these tours need to drive their own personal or rented vehicle. RVs and vehicles pulling trailers are permitted on private tours but are not recommended. Owners of full electric vehicles should phone 306-652-5975 to discuss whether their range is sufficient for these tours. The driving distance may be about 400 km for Whooping Crane tours and 100 km for half-day Sandhill Crane tours. EV charging stations are available at several Saskatoon hotels and other locations.

Carpooling

If you would like to share the costs of a Saskatchewan Whooping Crane tour with other interested birders, then complete the Carpooling Section of the Registration Request Form below or email the tour name, your name, phone number and email address to birdtours@sasktel.net

Tax Receipts

 

Whooping Crane Tours Registration Form

If you do not have a cell phone, enter your land line.
Mailing Address needed for tax receipt.
2-DAY Whooping and Sandhill TOUR DATES:: Sep 22-23, 24-25, 26-27, 29-30, Oct; 2-3, 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 22-23. 1-DAY Whooping Crane TOUR DATES: Sep 28, Oct 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 18, 19. 1/2 DAY Sandhill Crane TOUR DATES: Sep 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, Oct 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, BUDGET Whooping Crane TOUR DATE: Oct 1

 

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