Listening for Spring

Spring comes late here in Minnesota, so when it finally hit the 50’s yesterday, I threw caution to the winds and ventured out without a hat. Sound flooded my ears: the wind brushing the pines, the goldfinches twittering, the babble of brooks, the harsh cry of a pileated woodpecker, and . . . could that be? The odd, knocking cry of a sandhill crane? Sure enough, in the marshy bottomland that had hosted cranes every spring . . . a pair strutted out.


Sandhill cranes emerging from brush (center of photo).

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As soon as they saw Watson & me, they began to utter alarm calls, and slowly, elegantly walk away. 

Below is a video of not great quality, but at least you can hear them: 

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This crane pair most likely wintered in Texas, rested with thousands of others on the Platte River in Nebraska, and migrated back here, as they’ve done for several years. We think they nest in this patch of marsh, but we’re not sure. The whole neighborhood watches for them. Maybe one of these days, we’ll see chicks.

In the meantime, I will listen for their cries whenever I walk, and delight in other signs of spring:

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Puffy clouds & pussywillows

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Puddles & reflections

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For more info about sandhill cranes and their migration, go to:

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