ZIMMERMAN -- The southern migration of Minnesota's tallest bird is underway and thousands of them are staging in the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge.

The Sandhill Cranes gather in the refuge to roost at night and forage croplands during the day.

Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge say thousands of the prehistoric birds gather in the wetlands from mid-October to early November.

Over 5,000 of the birds are staging there with the peak number typically exceeding 10,000.

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The best time to see the birds is at dawn or dusk when they are leaving their roost or returning at the end of the day. You can go online for a link to a Sandhill Crane viewing brochure with a map and information about the best viewing areas.

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