Yesterday, against a pale blue sky, thousands flew over—clearly visible, heading north. A symphony of sounds filling the sky and my heart. Line after line, like long stretched-out strands of pearls, they called to one another, signaling the route they’d follow; the same route they’d followed for centuries.
It’s hard to comprehend the size of these birds unless you’ve seen them up close. As they sweep across the sky, I stand squinting into the sun, shading my eyes to watch them as far as I can, their seven-foot wingspan taking them out of sight at an amazing speed.
This morning, I sat in our hot tub with my coffee, waiting. Fog held back the sunshine, cloaking everything in a grey mist, keeping them hidden from me, yet I could hear them—hundreds of these beautiful creatures overhead, and I imaginedyesterday’s blue sky and knew how many were passing over. I wondered how far they’d fly before they rest, how many pairs will return next year. I’ve read about their rapid decline and how unregulated hunting led to only five pair of these magnificent birds by the 1940’s. Five pair? How on God’s green earth could anyone tip a rifle skyward and shoot something as glorious as this?
The population has recovered, but they are still in danger and their numbers drastically less than they once were. There are many reasons for their decline, loss of habitat: climate change, pollution, humans, sickness. Habitat loss is the greatest threat, and of course that is linked to us, to man and his ignorance.
Listen to their song. Listen to the Sandhill Crane song Imagine thousands of them overhead, moving at speeds of 25-35 mph, flying 200-300 miles per day before resting, birds that have been on this earth for millions of years (a skeleton 9 million years old was found in Nebraska). Imagine them flying at incredible heights (they’ve been seen flying over Mt. Everest at 28,000 feet!).
Imagine a world without them. My life, your life and those who follow us deserve to hear their song, see their courtship dance and see them in abundance as they take to the skies, as they have for millions of years.
Visit www.soscranes.org and help SAVE OUR CRANES!