Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday

Wild Bird Wednesday # 38

Sandhill Cranes at Sunset

The Sandhill Cranes spend their days in the unplowed cornfields eating old corn that was left behind at harvest.  They are spread all over the country side.  You can't drive anywhere without seeing a group grazing in the fields.   At Sunset they all return to the Platte River Basin to roost.  They gather on the sandbars in the river because the water on each side protects them from predation. 

 "There is a magical time that occurs each year in the heart of North        America, when the river and the seasons and the birds all come into a brief conjunction.  When that happens, it is simply called sublime."

Paul A. Johnsgard
Crane Music: A Natural History of North American Cranes                                                                                                                                                                       

We all met and boarded our bus around 5 PM.  We traveled a short distance to the Fort Kearney State Recreational Area where a bridge has been built over the river for viewing the migratory flocks.  Before the birds started arriving we had a wonderful catered reception in the woods ... Hors d'oeuvres and wine or a soft drink if you preferred.  After we were well fed we headed for the Bridge (a 15 minute walk) and parked ourselves along the bridge to see what we could see ...

As you watch this slide show, understand that each slide is of a different flock in sequence ... they were coming from every direction.  Their Crane music (bugling) filled the air and they just  kept coming and coming.  If you look closely you will see specks in the backgrounds of many of the pictures which are more flocks coming in the distance.  My heart was in my throat the whole time.  In my lifetime, I can't remember ever feeling so close to or in awe of Nature.  I know ... you have to be there, but hopefully you will get some sense of the magnificence of this night on a bridge in Kearny, Nebraska.


  1. Am going to have to watch this at home tonight! Can't wait!!!!!!

  2. Amazing to see so many birds all coming in to the same place. It must have been wonderful to stand there and watch it so close.

  3. Very cool! Great video, love the Sandhills Cranes. Their sounds must have been really awesome to hear. Someday, I wish to see this sight!

  4. A great post and I thoroughly enjoyed the video too. Thank you Andrea :)

  5. That had to be completely spellbinding to witness such a large number of cranes at one time. It's good to see that the population is coming back and thriving.

  6. Magic. And if it moved me to tears sitting on my behind half a world away I can well understand that sublime was the only word for your experience.

    Thank you.

  7. Really nice! I've never seen cranes in person.

  8. Andrea, this is awesome!!! I would love to have been on that bridge with you! I only seen the sandhill cranes once, and there were two of them. I'll see if I can find my photos, and I'll send you a photo. Thanks so much for the wonderful video. Hugs, Edna B.

  9. You know how I feel about Sandhill. You are blessed to have been able to go on your excursions. I absorb what I can here at home, and when I go on the road. Each sighting, each critter is a blessing.

  10. What a fantastic experience you had!
    We have a fair number of Sandhill migrants each winter and a resident population as well.
    But nothing like the huge numbers you saw!
    Awe inspiring!

  11. Great post - even if the video did take a while on my patchy internet!

    Moving to Australia was a real eye opener on all the biological fronts - I can remember seeing a "Wattlebird in a bottlebrush" in my first week here - and I know I was not in the UK any more!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW- Stewart M - Melbourne