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This zone extends from the Nièvre department (58) to extreme West of Saône-et-Loire (71) to Indre (36) in the West, through departement of Allier (03) and Cher (18). The Creuse department (23) holds only very occasionally a few wintering birds but includes an important staging area, the Etang des Landes, for Common Cranes during migration. Between the two major wintering sites in France, this « Central France » area is about 250 km southwest of Lac du Der (51-52) and 350 km northeast of Landes (40).
After a few wintering records during the 1970’s, Common Cranes increasingly used different sites from the early 1980’s and especially from the winter 1996-1997. Since 2009, more than 10 sites are used by cranes each winter, with a total population between 9500 and 16000 birds.
The wintering sites are of two types : classically one to several ponds in large cultivated areas (mostly maize), or more remarkably, a rarer habitat in Europe, cultivated areas associated with woodlands along the two « wild » rivers, Loire and Allier. These sites are sometimes small and highly sensitive to human disturbance.

Therefore it is imperative to watch cranes only from roads to limit this disturbance, and never try to approach the roosts. Moreover, the cranes are on private properties which must be respected. Farmers tolerate the cranes in spite of the damage they may do to crops. So, one must not add the harm of walking through fields, to get close to cranes or to photograph them, as some too often happen to do. Be strictly respectful of these constraints to maintain the wintering sites in this region.


The wintering sites and major staging areas are followed by the members, volunteers and professionals, of several local associations :
In l’Allier, par Guillaume Leroux, Jean-Christophe Sautour, Sylvain Vrignaud , ...
In Cher, par Yves Bolnot, Sébastien Brunet, Jean-Michel Chartendrault, Stéphane Coquery, Stéphane Lebreton, Sébastien Merle, Brigitte & Didier Migneau, Faustin Moreau, Annie & Alain Ouzet, Jean-François Ozbolt, Johann Pitois, Françoise et Michel Roger, ...
In Creuse, by the staff of the Natural Reserve de l’Etang des Landes

Information : Sébastien Merle