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Sandhill Crane migration in Nebraska

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Apr 10, 2020 - 5:54:03 AM
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WyoBob

USA

92 posts since 5/16/2019

Even if you're not a bird watcher/lover, this is pretty cool.  There's around 600,000 Sandhill Cranes that migrate through the area where I grew up near the Platte River every year.  I always looked forward to the spring migration every year.   The Platte River meets the crane's requirements for roosting as they like to roost in very shallow water.   They fly out to "graze" the farm fields during the day.

https://explore.org/livecams/national-audubon-society/crane-camera

Apr 10, 2020 - 9:46:30 AM

4573 posts since 9/26/2008

I have friends who travel there from central Iowa to watch in person. Nature on this scale is awe inspiring.

Apr 10, 2020 - 12:23:48 PM
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WyoBob

USA

92 posts since 5/16/2019

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

I have friends who travel there from central Iowa to watch in person. Nature on this scale is awe inspiring.


Bill, folks come from all over the world to see the cranes.   I really miss hearing them flying overhead.   We get a few stragglers here but they're really high and I can't hear them, even with hearing aids.   My wife can hear them and tell's me they're up there.  Pretty hard to spot them that far away though.

Apr 10, 2020 - 3:41:59 PM

bsed

USA

4050 posts since 6/23/2007

I was going to take that in and knock it off my Bucket List (I've been wanting to see this for yrs & yrs) until this GD covid BS.

Apr 10, 2020 - 4:10:25 PM

WyoBob

USA

92 posts since 5/16/2019

quote:
Originally posted by bsed

I was going to take that in and knock it off my Bucket List (I've been wanting to see this for yrs & yrs) until this GD covid BS.


It's been happening for a hundred, a thousand years?  I don't know.  It's really neat but lots of folks that live in my old stomping grounds got a bit jaded.  It happens every year so big deal is kind of the thinking on this, I think.

But, the video has been a big boost to our morale.  I love the sound the cranes make when flying.  It was part of my growing up in the area.  I load the video up in the morning and evening and just listen to the cranes.  During the day, when the cranes are in the field, there's not much to look at but the Platte River just flowing along.  A river that the pioneers referred to as, "a river an inch deep and a mile wide".  Back in those days, raging floods scrapped the vegetation clean providing ideal habitat for the cranes.  The building of the dam near Ogallala stopped the "cleaning" floods and the river grew up in trees.  Cranes don't like trees.  They roost in shallow water where they can keep and eye out for predators.

I like cranes, but, if I was still in agriculture in NE, I wouldn't have been happy with the decision to close down the massive irrigation project so the water could stay in the river and they could release "cleansing" flows from the dam to remove vegetation.  I owned 160 acres of prime farmland that was irrigated via the canal/ditch system.  Fortunately, as I preparing to "clean up" my farm and ranch business for a move out of the area, I sold the land while it was still under ditch irrigation.  Now, that old farm and most all of the farms in the area have had to drill wells and install center pivots.   I've been out of the business for 25 years but, back then, it would have cost, at a minimum, $40,000 to put a well down and install a center pivot.   Adjusted for inflation, that would be about $75,000 in today's dollars.  I have no idea how you do that and farm corn and hay and make it work.  Government programs?  I don't know.   I only did the government program one time on the advice of my tenant.   I didn't like it.  If my livelihood depended on the government, I figured that wasn't something I wanted to do.  I spent 30 years in the cattle business and we didn't get any handouts from the government and, though I was financially better off with the government programs, it rubbed me the wrong way so I sold the place.

Signed, happy to be retired and living in Wyoming and out of agriculture for the past 23 yearssmiley

Apr 11, 2020 - 1:48:07 PM
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8105 posts since 3/19/2009

We live a little east of you but we do get Sandhill crane flocks flying overhead each spring..Hearing them is one of the highlights of the YEAR...

Apr 13, 2020 - 11:58:58 AM
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boxbow

USA

2506 posts since 2/3/2011

I had been hearing them for the last week or so. There's a lot of scattered swampy thickets around here. They come out to hunt frogs in the cemetery after the ground finally thaws out. We just got about 20" of snow last night and it's still coming down lightly. No sign of any frogs. I think it's a little early for the cranes. In the summer I often see individual cranes standing in the ditch along county road M28 on the way east towards Munising. I'll see an old dead busted off sapling and it'll miraculously grow an eye and a beak. One summer on my daily drive to work I drove over a bridge overlooking a little backwater and at just that time of day there was usually one hunting the shallows. I don't know about their calls, though. To my ear they creak more than they croak. Neither choice is especially complimentary. Very antediluvian.

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