There are many nice things about living in central Nebraska: the nice people, the intriguing weather, the cost of living, the subtle beauty and one of the coolest reasons that happens to only be here for a month or so each spring, the sandhill cranes. As a kid I would travel to Estes Park Colorado for Easter every once in a while with my family. At times this would line up with the sandhill crane migration. It really amazed me how many birds could be in such a small portion of the interstate; we never got off to see them. Eventually I chose UNK as my college and quickly fell more in love with the spectacle that is the sandhill crane migration. Each year my girlfriend, fiance, or wife (depending on which year we’re talking about) and I would go out and drive around to see the cranes. When she got a nice camera our drives became stops to take pictures from places like the Ft. Kearny bridge, the raised platform south of the nature center near Alda, or our friends fields. I would simply stand there amazed by the number of birds and fascinated by their behavior as my wife snatched tons of pictures (here’s one from years past). These birds are quite amazing by themselves, in addition to the awesome numbers we have here in central Nebraska. First lets start with their age, they’re around nine million years old as a species. They can fly around 30 mph and usually go about 250 miles a day during migration. Cranes migrate a huge distance from the tropics all the way up to Alaska. One thing I learned this year is that there are even populations of sandhill cranes that don’t migrate. So the ones we see here, stoping to build up some energy for the rest of their trip, are only a portion of the world population. Central Nebraska is a perfect stoping point for the birds because the fields and wetlands supply them with food while the river supplies them with protection. (http://rowe.audubon.org/crane-facts) Okay so after that long illustration of why I love sandhill cranes you may be wondering why I’m writing this today. Well on my way home my wife pointed out to me the first flock of sandhill cranes I’ve seen this year. I snapped a few poor cellphone pictures as proof. So to sum up this post THEY’RE HERE!
Cite: “Crane Facts.” Crane Facts. National Audubon Society, Inc, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. <http://rowe.audubon.org/crane-facts>.