Hermit Thrush Photo by Gary Erickson
It’s that time of the year now in Southeastern Minnesota. The local ponds are filling with migrating geese and ducks. Then I saw my first Hermit Thrush and Eastern Phoebe yesterday and several varieties of native sparrows as well. Then best of all was that strange even froglike croaking call of the arrival of our locally breeding Sandhill Cranes. They became for the first ever summertime residents here only about ten years ago now.
On our spring trips to Colorado to see the Grandchildren, our halfway overnight stop was usually at Grand Island Nebraska in the Platte river valley. Arriving a little early on one occasion and having had supper already, we opted for a short jaunt along the river. The result was amazing as thousands of Sandhill cranes were seen everywhere in the fields along the river. They seemed especially partial to picked cornfields. From here, after feeding and resting for a bit they would eventually head north as far as Canada and even Eastern Siberia. It was the first time we had ever seen these magnificent birdsAs the sun began to set, we came to a bridge over the Platte. After parking, I walked up on the bridge and noticed flocks of birds, coming from all directions to settle in for the night. What a sight!
In the wild sandhills are very wary yet in Feb. we found some right along the Atlantic beachfront in Florida mingling with the tourists...:)
“There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of birds. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature--the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.”--Rachel Carson