Late on a cold, crisp afternoon, I stepped outside to get a breath of fresh air and take in some of nature’s sights and sounds before nighttime fell on our little part of the world.
A small flock of cedar waxwings, with their high-pitched whistles, flitted about in the sky before temporarily settling in the top of one of our maple trees.
A group of grackles shared an adjoining maple tree, the males puffing out their feathers and bellowing out raspy squeaks in an attempt to outdo each other.
A robin peered down at me from its perch in the top of a neighbor’s tree.
Then I heard them — the faint and familiar sound of a bird that I have been looking forward to seeing since they returned to their wintering grounds at a nearby refuge. Flying high above, they slowly came into sight — my first seasonal glimpse of the Sandhill Cranes.
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” ~Maya Angelou
A good way to begin the New Year is a drive to Hop-In Refuge to see the Sandhill Cranes which winter there. Harvested farmland provides a good source of food and water for the cranes and other types of waterfowl which gather there.
“Today is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one!” ~Brad Paisley
On a morning walk, my attention was drawn to the bugling sound that I’ve come to associate with the Sandhill Crane. Looking up, I saw strings of them coming across the sky above the farm fields, headed northward. Spring migration has begun.
“… the grand tour is just the inspired man’s way of heading home.” ~Paul Theroux
After spotting three Sandhill Cranes on farmland near our house, I was curious to find out why the cranes were in the area. I did an online search and discovered that “Hop-in Refuge”, located not far from us in West Tennessee, is a wintering home to several thousand Sandhill Cranes each year. Used as farmland during the summer, it is then flooded to provide habitat for birdlife during the winter months. I was excited to go on a road trip in search of the Sandhill Cranes. We found that though the refuge is closed during the months of November thru February, there are plenty of cranes to see dotting the farmland in the surrounding area.
“Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.” ~Unknown
During a walk on our country road, I heard a strange bugling sound that I was unfamiliar with. Looking around, I saw three tall birds standing off on the other side of the field. They were Sandhill Cranes searching for food in a harvested corn field.
“When we hear his call, we hear no mere bird. We hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution.” ~Aldo Leopold