Friday, February 17, 2012

Rare sandhill cranes winter on a pond in Baldwin County (with video)

Giant and pewter-gray, the birds towered over a flock of Canadian geese gathered at their feet in a marshy spot at the edge of a Baldwin County pond.
Once common throughout Alabama, but now rare enough that each sighting is noteworthy, the sandhill cranes snapped to sudden attention at the sound of a twig cracking in the woods 300 feet away.
All four birds gazed in the same direction, toward a pair of men dressed in full camouflage and well hidden in the underbrush. In unison, the skittish birds took to the air.
As they flew, an undulating and siren-like call spilled across the lake.
The cranes spiraled ever higher in lazy circles, their wings scarcely flapping as they rode the wind until they disappeared from view. Moments later, they soared back over the lake, a pair of buzzards flying with them.

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