(WJW) – A tall and wading bird, characterized by its long neck and bill, is being spotted more and more in Ohio.

The sandhill crane was once completely gone from Ohio but, a recent volunteer-driven survey of the bird found more than 450 sightings total in the past two years.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the sandhill crane made its return to the Buckeye State in 1987, and over the past three years, volunteers have set out to help wildlife officials track its status.

The information provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says the most recent survey extended through 30 of Ohio’s 88 counties. The sandhill crane was spotted in 24 of those counties and the most sighting were in these six counties:

  • Wayne: 96
  • Lucas: 77
  • Geauga: 63
  • Ottawa: 18
  • Logan: 15
  • Williams: 15

In 2021, volunteers only observed 160 of the birds. Then in 2022, that number grew slightly to 311 sightings, according to the ODNR. Officials say the sandhill crane is still considered a threatened species in Ohio.

You are most likely to spot a sandhill crane in wetland areas. Learn more about the migratory bird, here.