Thursday, July 20, 2006
This time I was ready, and my subjects were a bit farther away and more willing.
Like bald eagles, sandhill cranes were a relatively uncommon sight in this area until within the last fifteen years. Farming practices and hunting in the early 1900's pushed the crane population further north and west until only a few nesting pairs remained in northwestern Minnesota. A single captive male crane held at a game farm/wildlife research facility in east central Minnesota in the 1960's may be responsible for bringing sandhill cranes back to the area. According to this article , the male would call in migrating females and successfully fledged several broods over a few years. These cranes returned to the same area and established a breeding population that has since been expanding its range into marshes and hayfields throughout east central Minnesota.
Every spring I hear a pair of sandhill cranes return to the marsh behind my house, their raucous, prehistoric call echoing through the tamaracks. That is music to me.