Saturday April 18th was the Midwest Crane Count 2009, an event sponsored by the International Crane Foundation. We were in our same spots as the last two years: part of our group at the Natural Land Institute‘s Nygren Wetlands and the part of us at a privately owned marsh.
Our objective was to count Sandhill Cranes [or rarely, Whooping Cranes]: those heard, seen, and especially those that are paired up. We determined this mostly by listening for their distinct unison calls or if lucky enough, by finding a nest or seeing a pair dancing.
In total we heard 32 Sandhills including seven pairs doing their unison call and one pair dancing. One crane flew out of the marsh roughly 40 feet from our hidden location. Perhaps the best part of the whole count is not so much seeing and hearing cranes, but sitting amongst the birds in the marsh well before dawn and listening to the birds wake up for the day.
It’s hard to beat multiple Sora’s calling only a few feet away!!