The lingering snow and bitter winter in Nebraska has put a damper on the annual sandhill crane migration this year.

March is typically the prime time to see the roughly 500,000 sandhill cranes that stop along the Platte River as part of their annual migration. But this year the crane numbers have been much lower because of the tough conditions.

A spokesperson with the Crane Trust told the Omaha World-Herald the number of migrating birds may not take off until sometime between mid-March and mid-April. But once it begins the cranes may gather in impressive numbers.

Every year, about 80 percent of the world’s sandhill crane population visits Nebraska to forage for food before continuing north to their breeding grounds.