Saturday, March 6, 2010

Call of the Cranes

Some things just stick with you; you know what I mean. You remember years later when some small word or thought or sight jogs your memory. That's the way it is for the sandhill cranes for me. The first year Gary and I were married in 1985, I stood on the deck of our home located in a dense forest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the distance I heard a unique and plaintive call coming from a long way off. (Click on the link and then on sound to hear their call, perhaps you'll be mesmerized like I was so long ago).

I knew of sandhill cranes but had never heard or seen one. Somehow I immediately knew the sound I was hearing was the call of the cranes. I kept looking up into a small opening high in the sky waiting, and hoping I would see the cranes fly over head.

It seemed like such a long time that I waited for the sound to come closer and closer. I thought the chances were slim that the birds would fly overhead where I could get a glimpse of them. There was only a small opening in the forest created by the foot print of our house. All of a sudden high above me in the sky I saw the formation of the flock flying overhead. For just a few fleeting moments I saw the birds fly by and heard the call of the cranes on their way to their winter homes.

Yesterday Gary and I were driving through a residential neighborhood. Two large birds were walking on the front lawn of some one's house. At first I thought they were statues and then they moved. They were eating small insects I suppose in the lawn. I stopped the car and took a few photos. Several cars drove by and the cranes seemed oblivious and kept up with their quest for food. One bird kept a lookout while the other dug in the grass and then they reversed roles. I didn't hear their call but somehow I knew these two birds were sandhill cranes. Later we drove by a pasture and saw two more cranes. I came home and did a search on the Internet and found they were indeed sandhill cranes. Ain't life grand.


  1. Are you still in Florida? Is that a possible consideration for residency?
    I remember all the cranes I grew up with in S.C. never got tired of them.

  2. life is grand. love cranes but not sure there are any of those around here. we see blue herons relatively often and they're a sight to behold.

  3. Oh yes, I love cranes too! We're in Wisconsin, and when I'm lucky enough to hear that ancient otherworldly sound they make, it sends chills down my spine. Terrific post!

  4. Believe it or not we even have Sandhill Cranes that migrate to up here in Alaska. I have been inspired to create a few metal sculptures of them. They seem almost prehistoric to me. I had a client tell me that a pair of larger than life size sculptures I made were ATTRACTING other Cranes to their property in Homer, AK and that adults were leaving their chicks at the sculptures feet while the parents went and ate!! She sent me photos -it was very cool.

  5. I love birds of any kind- wonderful to be there and see them.
    Cindy's story is funny!

  6. They are commical birds I think. They always have a startled "what you looking at" look and I would like to make their plumage more clown like for them!!!!!

  7. Ah, my favorite Florida bird. I love their sound and my can they fly high.
    Was lucky to watch a baby grow up when I worked at the toll booths. There was a large retention pond there that they they stayed around. The baby was an orange ball of fluff, just precious.

  8. Hi Tracey, thanks, yes we are still in Florida and looking at a few houses, the warm weather has our old bones feeling much better here. Today is supposed to be the last day of cold weather for here.

    Hi Jim, thanks, the blue heron are wonderful, you probably remember the one that ate a gopher whole in the backyard of our old home.

    Hi Angela, thanks, yes, I just love the hear their call. Apparently they are all over the place around here.

    Hi Cindy, thanks, yes I remember seeing your sculpture of the sandhill cranes on your blog, so beautiful, yours are probably the ones that migrate over the Pacific flyway to Mexico for the winter. How wonderful for your sculpture to protect the young while they were away, so special.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, the birdlife here is wonderful and I am enjoying it.

    Hi Kitty, thanks, you could pull the comical feathers off with your work for sure, would love to see that.

    Hi Patti, thanks, that was special to see the little one. If I drive in certain areas now, I am sure to see the cranes, so lucky for me.

  9. cool story of the cranes. We have a heron that visits our little pond. I feel a deep connection with this type of bird.

  10. I think sandhill cranes are one of Nature's loveliest treasures. Their call stirs the soul. And, one of my pottery treasures from Albania caused me to think of you yesterday, Linda. It's a technique where there's a type of sand/stone ringed on the outside. Supposed to be an old technique. Can you enlighten me??? I love these pieces! Got them from a roadside stand in the boonies. Thanks!

  11. Hi Michael, thanks, I too feel strongly about these types of birds, the herons have such patience I could take a lesson from them.

    Hi Kittie, thanks, their call is truly unique and haunting. I am not sure of that technique from Albania, but it sounds very interesting. I must do some research and hopefully I can learn about it. So happy you thought of me, blogs seem like what penpals were in the past. Thoughts are written down and later someone from far away reads the words and much later remembers the person who wrote them.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment