Daily Archives: 27 September 2016

“The crane is wilderness incarnate”

The Wisconsin River near Baraboo has become a late season congregation point for the sandhill crane. As many as 10,000 cranes converge here to rest and stock up before heading to their wintering grounds. It’s an impressive wildlife resurgence.

The sandhill crane had all but disappeared from the upper Midwest by the early 1930’s. The last of the breeding populations were gone from Illinois in 1890, Iowa in 1905, South Dakota in 1910, Ohio in 1926, and Indiana in 1929. By the 1930’s, there were only a few dozen cranes left in the state of Wisconsin.

I have a thing for cranes. Their lonely bugle call from the swamps always stops me in my tracks. Their migration in and out of Alaska is a bi-annual highlight of living in Alaska. Luckily, the population has been growing since the 1980’s, and this section of the Wisconsin River has been vital for that to happen.

The Aldo Leopold Foundation offers viewing tours along the Wisconsin River, behind Leopold’s Shack in November and December.

“When we hear his call we hear no mere bird. We hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution. He is the symbol of our untamable past, of that incredible sweep of millennia which underlies and conditions the daily affairs of birds and men.”
— Aldo Leopold

The Aldo Leopold Foundation offers viewing tours along the Wisconsin River, behind Leopold’s Shack in November and December.

The video and statistics come courtesy of The Aldo Leopold Foundation. The title quote is from Aldo Leopold’s “Marshland Elegy”