Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Wild Thursday: Early sandhills

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A couple days ago Ed Bowen sent some photos of sandhill cranes passing over on Sunday.


The regular e-mailer from the south suburbs said,

I had a small flock go over on Sunday. I think they are a little early going to Jasper Pulaski area?
I suspected he was right, in part because of a few days ago. While driving south on Route 1, I saw a large bird in a ditch and assumed it was a great blue heron. Then it hit me, hey, that was a sandhill crane. And over the past week or so, I have heard their croaking several mornings.

Naturally, Bowen's note nudged me to check the status of the sandhills at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area, south of Valparaiso, Ind.

If you have never visited Jasper-Pulaski when sandhills at their peak, I highly recommend you schedule a day in November, when their numbers can top 20,000.

Normally, updates are posted at But it is early, and none were listed yet. So I called the site.

They expect to begin doing the formal counts next week, but Jason said, ``There are plenty here now,'' and they had a conservative rough estimate of two or three thousand already there.

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Jasper Pulaski is SE of Valparaiso off of Rt. 421

As to the reports of the sandhills being early, I've been seeing them along the Kankakee for 3 weeks now...not the gigantic flocks like I'm used to seeing, just coming in like stragglers.

Last year, I saw far too many that were shot by hunter and left alongside the road like trash...a practice that needs to stop!

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on October 15, 2009 9:28 AM.

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