Saturday, March 8, 2014

Together is the best place to be

Togetheristhebest_20091219_0010 poster

Some people say the Sandhill Cranes dance to release energy, some say to court, and others say they dance for the sheer joy of it --- bowing to their life-time mate, stretching their wings, horizontal head movement, vertical leaping, running with wing extended, and tossing grass high into the air.

They are about 5' tall, have 5" bills, a 7’ wingspan, and spend a year teaching their offspring to run, dance, fly, and call - a warning call, a "Here I am call" (to reunite with their family) , and a courting call (with the female calling twice for every male call).

They mate for life, form families with a life-long recognition of parents and siblings, and have a life expectancy of 25 years in the wild.

When you see the cranes, bow, and begin their dance. Don't forget to breathe.

From October through February, they winter at Isenberg Crane Preserve (also known as Woodbridge Ecological Reserve). The Preserve is just 10 miles north of Flag City (at the junction of Highway 5 and 12). From Flag City, take Thornton Road north, then turn left of Woodbridge Road. Woodbridge Road is a working farm road that ends after about 6 miles and that has no facilities (e.g., restrooms, food, or beverage).

The cranes, especially on cloudy days, forage and dance in the fields on both sides of the road. Then at dusk until after dark envelopes the land, wave after wave of black clouds fill the air, dissolve into wisps, then become thousands of cranes, tundra swan, and other waterfowl gliding down to roost for the night.

Wouldn’t it be fun to dance with the Cranes? Do you have an experience with the Cranes to share?