Heads Up!

by Donna Lewis

Last evening, I was outside just looking at the multitude of migrating shippers.

Those are the tiny butterflies that have many species here in Texas.

I heard the sound of something that is familiar from as long as I can remember… Sandhill Cranes!! I looked up and there was a “V” flock of 95 birds going South.

How exciting. If you have ever heard them, you will never forget the sound they make.

It is something that makes your heart warm. I always hope that every year as long as I live I will hear that call.

So, pay attention because there will be more to come.

This is why we are naturalists, to help these birds and all wildlife continue on.

(Photos and video from Sue Ann Kendall, taken in October 2022)

Sandhill Cranes: Wonderful Sign of Spring

by Sue Ann Kendall

Last weekend I was at a horsemanship clinic when I heard a familiar sound. I pointed up and said, “Listen!” The ten-year-old girl who was in my group asked me what in the world that was. I said it was the sandhill cranes migrating north. It made my day to see how excited she was about it. She promised to keep her ears open this year and from now on.

Photo by @lburlew71 via Twenty20

The sandhill crane, Antigone canadensis, comes by twice a year, heading up north and heading back south. They aren’t endangered or anything, but they are endearing to me. I can remember when my children were small, I’d hear them from inside my car, pull over, and make my sons watch them flying over, clacking and honking as hard as they could. That was in Williamson County.

Nice quality, huh?

Of course, they fly over Milam County as well. Friends report that they touch down in some of our larger lakes, like over by the old Alcoa property, to rest as they go by. They’ve never stopped by our little ponds, but sometimes they are close enough to see the colors on their heads with binoculars.

Yep, it’s birds all right.

I ran outside today when I heard them from inside my house, and got a recording and took a few photos. They aren’t great, but that’s okay. I like to document when different birds migrate through each year to see how it differs. Last year they were a little later than this year. Hey, I’m a naturalist.

Well, it was pretty in person.

I’m glad I got the recording, so my iNat identification will be easier. Since I was on my property, I can’t get any credit for the observations, but so what? I got the thrill of listening to my favorite signs of spring as they head up to get some nice fresh food. Learning to observe the rhythms of nature is one of the best things about our training.

This took me forever to convert from one format to another, so truly, enjoy the sounds!