January 31, 2017 — North Central Florida

This morning, while working on my home computer, I heard one of my favorite sounds — the honking and rattling of migrating sandhill cranes overhead. I ran outside, still in my pajamas, and just barely caught a photo of them flying high overhead with a crystal blue sky as background.

Sandhill cranes are similar to great blue herons in size — three to five feet tall with wingspans of five to seven feet — but with unusual pinkish-red heads. In the late fall, they migrate from Canada and parts of the upper Midwest to the most southern rim of states in the U.S and head back to their northern homes in February or March. My morning flock was getting an early start on its long journey north.

Our area typically has several hundred sandhill cranes that winter here. I see them often on a local golf course where one of my clients lives, but mostly they occupy a nature preserve on the outskirts of town.

The sound of a sandhill crane is loud, unique, and haunting and can be heard for miles. The traveling flocks of cranes, at least what I have seen, fly straight for a while and then they circle and dip and weave, honking and calling, or perhaps what they do is a type of bird laughter, a giddiness to be en route again.

The great blue heron is my favorite bird, but the sandhill crane comes in a close second. Both are majestic and capturing a glimpse of either fills me with a rare feeling of peace and contentment.

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Dennett

Dennett

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.