Reports of sandhill cranes are everywhere.
I first heard them, sandhills not just the reports, at Sand Ridge Nature Center this morning.
Apparently that true all around the whole of Chicago outdoors.
Or maybe it was just the first truly gorgeous Saturday since December. But I suspect there was a major flight going on from the reports on my e-mail tonight.
First came from Rick Remington, who also sent the photo above:
I took these in Crabtree Nature Center yesterday afternoon. I heard them well in advance but could not see them until I was getting ready to leave. This seems very early for cranes? This is always the first reminder of spring for me.
Have a great day!
Then from Jim Hantak in Hillside:
The migrants are coming, I saw a cowbird and a couple of grackles at my feeders this morning and saw a flock of sandhill cranes overhead. I'm still waiting for my first red-winged blackbird of the season.
Then from John Vukmirovich on the Southeast Side:
I saw a small skein, about thirty, at about 9:20, very high, moving westward towards Lake Calumet. (I was at the intersection of 112th and Ewing.) Ten minutes later, in my backyard, on 111th and M, a smaller skein, about a dozen, headed north by northwest, at warp speed. And they were soundless! Not a kroo!I also loved his quip at the end of his e-mail from one of my favorite writers:
For about an hour, I lingered in my backyard, waiting for more. Two groups passed to the south, around about Wolf Lake heading towards Lake Calumet. I couldn't see them, but I heard them. At about 10:45, while I was waiting for a bus back at 112th and Ewing, two skeins, one quite large (maybe a hundred?) flew over, very, very high, heading west by northwest.
I don't think this was the main event. My guts tell me it's still coming. Maybe tomorrow, if the rain lets up, or perhaps Monday.
But it was a welcome sight after our winter.
"We live in a cheaper [cultural] environment now than we used to." Norman Mailer, 2007.And that has to be part of it, it is a welcome sight after the winter we had.
Or should I say a welcome croaking after the winter we had. Though John is somebody who disputes with me that their sound is a croaking.
With that, we go to Ken Gortowski, who had his own description of the sound, with a report from the western burbs:
Was out fishing today where the two DuPages become one.Cooing?
Three small flocks of cranes were heading north, cooing as they went.
Winter is officially over.
Till it snows another time or two.
I don't think so. Croaking is more apt than cooing.
At any rate, if you're outside, pay attention and look high. Birds are moving, and sandhill cranes may be the most noted migrant in recent years.