Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill In Flight

Each spring, thousands of Sandhill Cranes migrate through Indiana, and many make stops in rural LaPorte County. Hearing the calls late at night, I figured the cranes were spending the night on the frozen lake, and sure enough, in the dim light of the morning, I saw hundreds of cranes in two groups.

As the morning went on, the birds began leaving the ice, taking flight in small groups. Several flew directly overhead, so I couldn't resist capturing a few photographs.

Morning on the Ice

Their interactions are interesting to watch. In the photo above, the crane on the left looks over his shoulder to see another crane landing nearby. This was comical to me, as the groups of birds seem to communicate with each other on their way to the empty farm fields nearby to forage for food during the day.

Thousands of Sandhill Cranes pass through the area each year, and the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area is a prime location to see them. The small lake in LaPorte County is about 45 miles northeast of that wildlife area, so that may be an indication of just how widespread the cranes are during the migration.

The cranes will linger in this area each spring for about three weeks or so, then the fields will be quiet again until next spring.

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