The Sandhill Cranes

Last weekend at Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks was the Sandhill Crane Festival. Creamer’s Field is a migratory waterfowl refuge and the weekend was dedicated to the celebration of the annual gathering of Sandhill cranes. Each year the cranes gather in the fields of the old dairy farm before they fly south for the winter. This year the daily count has been around 1000 cranes! Can you imagine?? There were so iuiumany birds in the fields, it was incredible.

Lee and I walked on one of the nature trails and saw three birds chasing away two others that had flown in to their territory. It was really surprising to see. They squawked loudly and did this bobbing thing with their necks where they raised up tall, then dropped down and pointed their necks straight forward as they charged. It was like an army attacking with bayonets! The two finally flew away.

We also walked away from the fields where the birds had gathered and into the largest stand of birch trees I have ever seen. The boardwalk just kept going and going through birch trees. It was really quite peaceful. I can’t wait to return to the trail in a couple of weeks when all the leaves have turned yellow.

In addition to all this nature viewing, I got a pamphlet about bird-watching in the winter. There are many species of birds that will come to the feeder in the winter! I’m so excited – and relieved!

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