Sunday, March 20, 2011

Witnessing a Crane migration

This is a bit off topic - but too cool not to mention.

I came out of a shop yesterday, and could hear the soft calls of a bird I wasn't familiar with. It sound a little like a turkey, but not quite. I looked about - nothing out of the ordinary.

Then I looked up.

I was stunned to see massive V's of migrating birds moving from southwest to northeast. I apologize for the very poor picture, but my cell phone was all I had with me.

 Looking almost straight overhead, there appeared to be a gathering point where large numbers of birds were wheeling about, climbing the thermal waves before heading off again in newly formed chevrons. All the while they were calling and vocalizing. It was this rendezvous point that I had heard.

It was as if along the migration route, high in the air, they stopped to regroup, calling loudly for approaching birds to locate, join the flock,then regrouping before moving on.

I stood transfixed for about 20 minutes, and until I saw no more approaching cranes. I could hear them long after I could not see them.

Witnessing this spectacle was a privilege, made all the more special as I was headed my mother's grave to mark the seventh anniversary of her passing. She was an avid back yard birder, and would have really appreciated this moment.

A little research indicated that these were likely sandhill cranes. The timing is right and the visual ID, what there was of it, seems to be about right.  I'll never forget it.

Until next time, Keep Digging & Eat Well!

The Gastronomic Gardener
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  1. Sounds like an amazing experience. I've never seen Cranes, but years ago in Germany we used to see quite a lot of Storks. They nest on chimneys and rooftops - having one on your roof is considered an honour!

  2. Mark, it really was an extraordinary experience, and it's brevity makes it all the more precious.

  3. Very, very cool. We've seen migrating sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife area in Medaryville, Indiana -- not very far from you and well worth the trip. At dusk thousands of these enormous birds fly in to this big field for the night. Unforgetable. Thanks, Dave. Peter


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