Sandhill Cranes in Flight

March 24, 2015

“The very flight of birds is a writing waiting to be read.”
— Loren Eiseley

Cranes at sunset, from the bridge at Fort Kearney Historical Recreation Area

Cranes at sunset, from the bridge at Fort Kearney Historical Recreation Area

“The Sand Hill Cranes”
by Lola Haskins, from The Poets Guide to the Birds, edited by Judith Kitchen and Ted Kooser

The blue air fills with cries of regret.
The cranes are streams, rivers.
They danced on the night prairie,
leapt at each other, quivering.

The long bones of sand hill cranes
know their next pond.  Not us.
When something is too beautiful
we do not understand to leave.

Sandhill cranes in flight

Sandhill cranes in flight

Sandhill cranes returning to the Platte River at sunset

Sandhill cranes returning to the Platte River at sunset

“Migration of the Sandhill Cranes
Sulphur Springs Valley, Arizona”
by Alison Hawthorne Deming, from  “Short Treatise on Birds”

Perhaps they would forgive us our
greed if they lived with moral codes.
Instead they take our leavings, corn-
fields crowded with migrants ’till they
rise, wheel, stream apart in columns
then join again.  If they have a
purpose, it must be communal
flight, swarms that meet to read the sky.

Sandhill cranes in flight

Sandhill cranes in flight

Bird watchers gather for the evening move to the roosts near the Rowe Sanctuary

Bird watchers gather for the evening move to the roosts near the Rowe Sanctuary

 

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2 Responses to “Sandhill Cranes in Flight”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    One thing’s for sure. I can get as close to the cranes here as you did there. I didn’t realize that. When they arrive to overwinter and fill the rice fields, you can be as close as from the road to the other side of the fence. I’m no good at estimating distances, but surely I’ve been as close as 50 feet.

    They do fly fast, don’t they? I tried to catch up with great streams of them in the panhandle once, and just couldn’t do it. Of course, I was handicapped by having to stay on the roads.

    • Rosemary Says:

      I found these wild flocks of cranes way more skittish and wary of humans than I anticipated. We were so far away that you could not get a sense of how tall/big these sandhill cranes are. I was glad I had previously seen a few sandhill cranes in Homer, Alaska and at the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in B.C. because I now hold those close encounters in my memory banks. This mass migration was a nice alternate view of this magnificent bird.


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