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Cranes are one of our greatest wildlife spectacles By Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal.

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. | They came in at mid day on tired wings. Flock after flock after flock of large gray birds trailing long, black legs. They swung over the Platte River as if checking to see if it were still there.

Then they glided away toward nearby fields where they would alight with hundreds, if not thousands, of their own kind.

Most had ridden the strong southerly winds probably all the way from Texas or beyond where they had spent the winter. Now their inner clocks were pushing them northward.

This was the famed sandhill crane migration.

Fran and I were here on a spur of the moment whim. We had never seen the migrating cranes. After a little research on the Internet we grabbed our cameras and left. People from around the world gather to observe this phenomenon which takes place along a 40-mile stretch of the Platte between Kearney and Grand Island. Some 500,000 cranes will pass through here each spring. That’s about 90 percent of the world’s population.

Crane watching is so popular here that it is estimated to bring more than $10.3 million to the local economy, [Read more…]