“Going to the birds…” A visit with Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill CranesThe other day I made the short trip to the Isenberg Crane Preserve near Lodi California. What a wonderful experience. Arriving shortly before dawn the first thing that really hits you when you visit a bird refuge is the noise. Thousands of birds chatting about who knows what…but to my ears simply magic…

I spent the day with the birds, photographing the magnificent Sandhill Crane (standing 4 to 5 feet tall). Like many species of wildlife, the cranes “call” can be heard for surprisingly long distances. When you hear their call you might think it is so close that the bird is hiding from you. Yet when you look up and see them coming, they’re actually hundreds of yards away as they ‘notify’ their friends of their arrival.

The cranes are very social and you’ll see them dance as well as all kinds of other humanistic antics. I love it.

The sheer amount of birds was phenomenal. Great Blue Herons, Egrets, Tundra Swans, and a myriad of raptors and other birds too many for me to name. And I understand it only gets better as the winter progresses. At the end of the day I was blessed with an incredible sunset with Mt Diablo silhouetted in the distance as the suns glow settled on the horizon. It wasn’t until I got home and found two cranes flying into the sunset many miles away. What a wonderful gift!

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