Watch. For 120 seconds.
Charu Suri @wsj.com: Have You Ever Seen the Crane?
North America’s sandhill crane migration is one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles. To witness these frequent flyers on their favorite plains, head to Nebraska now.
From mid-February to mid-April (peaking during the last few weeks of March), the densest influx of migrating sandhill cranes descends on Nebraska. 80% of the planet’s crane population, 650,000 birds, have been making seasonal stopovers in the region for at least 10,000 years, an epic spectacle on par with the annual wildebeest migration in Kenya’s Rift Valley.
These slate-colored winged beauties with crimson foreheads and cream-colored cheeks gather along the sinuous, braided channels of the Platte River, which offer them protection from predators, and feast on corn left on the fields after harvest until not a kernel remains…(In a perfectly symbiotic dynamic, the cranes help the farmers by leaving them a clean field ready for planting the following year.)
I could hear the distinctive, low and throaty call of the crane — as insistent as cicada song — even through the closed windows of our car. (The song of one sandhill crane can carry well over a mile.)…It sounded as if an avian orchestra was tuning up just a few feet away, as a blend of sharp trills and lush cooing filled the air. Though the sun had not yet risen, I could make out the silhouettes of wings and of reedlike legs supporting the birds’ hefty bluish-grey frames. A few frisky, early rising males did the mating dance, flapping their wings and leaping a few feet into the air like giddy, light-footed schoolboys, while the females seemed to look on approvingly. But most of the cranes were still asleep, their heads tucked under their wings…The entire scene was accompanied by what sounded like countless chamber orchestras riffing simultaneously on Stravinsky.
Fun Facts on Sandhill Cranes: Sandhill cranes travel up to 10,000 miles, as many as 500 per day, on their annual migration from the Southern U.S. and Mexico. Their wingspan: 6.5 feet for adults. Their average height: Just under four feet for adults. Special Talent: They are known for their ability to dance. Like humans, they boogie to find a mate, relieve tension and just for fun.
Read more here: Have You Ever Seen the Crane?
Photo by Siena62 taken near Kearney, NE
I’ve just finished the first of Rebecca Sonlit’s new collection of 29 essays titled The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness. Mimi uses the word “transported.” I was this. And what came to mind after finishing the first essay was Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers:
- HELP! Help God, help me write this well*. (I’ll need 3000 prayers and still not sure He would have the requisite raw material to shape this putty.)
- THANKS! Thank you Rebecca for this sharing this wondrous talent.
- WOW! As I sit here reading and re-reading passages. Wow!
Here’s a few excerpts from her expedition to the Arctic Circle titled Cyclopedia of an Arctic Expedition. [Read more…]
“Tens of thousands of starlings start their murmuration, with Criffel mountain in the background, as dusk fell last night (November 5, 2014) on the England and Scotland border near Gretna Green.”
- Source: The Guardian photograph by Owen Humphreys/PA via The Sensual Starfish
- Don’t miss more amazing photographs of murmurations: The Murmurations of Starlings – The Atlantic
As if to spare the birds at the feeder
any more competition than they already have
a snowflake drops right past the perches
crowded with finches, nuthatches, sparrows,
and without even thinking to open its wings
settles quietly onto the ground.
~ Ted Kooser. December 23, Cold. Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison
~ Florida Scott-Maxwell, The Measure of My Days
- More gems from Florida Scott-Maxwell: I kept calling to you and you did not come and Yes, all that and Ever changing beauty almost ignored and They are stronger than I am. They are me.
- Image: Your Eyes Blaze Out