Annual Autumn Crane Count

Date: Friday, October 26, 2018 - 5:30am to 11:00am

Location: Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge (Gautier, MS)

Coordinating Agency: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge

Contact Name: Scott Hereford

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: (228) 497-6322 x109


Greetings Crane Friends, biologists and Citizen Scientists: 


You are invited to the 35th Annual Autumn Crane Count on Friday October 26th at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier, MS.  Volunteers have been an integral part of this citizen science project since 1983. This is a unique opportunity to observe endangered MS sandhill cranes close-up in their native habitat from observation blinds on the Refuge. 


We meet here early that morning at about 5:30 am at Visitor Center*, transport you by truck to your assigned blind, you count cranes for the next 3 hours or so, we pick you up and bring you back to the Visitor Center by about 11 am. We will have a lunch afterward (courtesy of refuge Friends group) where you can meet other crane friends and share your experiences. I will send out a survey report to partners and all participants.  If you are interested, reply to me here at and I will send you additional information.


What to expect? The weather is generally pleasant but can be cool, especially with a strong north wind. We will only cancel if there is fog or heavy rain. You will need to be able walk 30-40 yards, a few may walk 300 yards, and climb stairs or ladder up to a 15 feet high blind.  Counters need to be able to use binoculars and spotting and distinguish color leg bands.

What we provide:  binoculars & spotting scope (for those that don’t have their own), ride to and from observation blind, survey data sheet, map, and post survey lunch.

What you need to bring: binocs & scope if you have them, mobile phone, water, compass, appropriate clothing (layers) to sit in a blind with openings to wind and footwear to walk through wet grass or shallow water. 


There are about 20 slots; so first come, first confirmed.


Feel free to forward to others you think interested. This is only possible by the help of you and other valuable volunteers. Thank you! 




*To Headquarters/Visitor Center, go ¾ mile north on Gautier-Vancleave Road from I-10 exit 61, turn right at refuge entrance sign, follow paved road ½ mile into parking lot. Visitor Center is on right as you face building.  Address: 7200 Crane Lane, Gautier, MS 39553. GPS: 30°27'3.32"N, 88°39'20.17"W