Tag Archives: Aldo Leopold

Virtual Cranes

“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 – Marshland Elegy, A Sand County Almanac.

The sandhill cranes of Wisconsin

I’m slow to embracing the virtual world, but now that winter has arrived in the North, and plenty of time on my hands, but without the inclination to travel anywhere, I’ve done some virtual exploring.

In the spring, the Platte River in Nebraska is the place to be, to see the siege of sandhill cranes flying through to eat and rest before heading further north. In the autumn, however, the Wisconsin River near Baraboo, WI is a major stopover for this ancient breed of birds.

The Aldo Leopold Foundation usually offers tours and blinds for crane viewing and photography in the fall, but 2020 is not the year for those types of activities. Instead, they offered a virtual visit to the Wisconsin River and the over 10,000 cranes that are camping out along its banks. I joined one of these visits this week, and found it incredibly informative, and well produced. Still, no virtual visit compares to seeing the sandhill crane in person, or hearing and feeling that prehistoric bugle as it flows through you from across the terrain and the eons.

Luckily, next spring, I won’t have to go beyond my deck to experience them again.

The above video is one done previously by the International Crane Foundation and the Aldo Leopold Foundation.


Cogs & Wheels

” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”

— Aldo Leopold


Queued up

The Rover on the Haul Road

One thing I do like about loading up posts in the queue, is that I can be gone all week and nobody has any idea.

Get out and enjoy autumn!

“Like the River, we were free to wander.”

— Aldo Leopold


January Observation:

Special thanks to the Aldo Leopold Foundation


South Bound

The past few weeks, we have had an influx of visitors, as the sandhill crane population increased exponentially. A few stragglers still remain, but most have headed further south on their annual autumn migration. I will miss their prehistoric trumpet from the marsh as they winter Outside.


Aldo Leopold "Farm" quote


“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”


Aldo quote
Credit:The Aldo Leopold Foundation


Aldo Leopold Week

Leopold Quote

The state of Iowa declared this week, March 1-7, Aldo Leopold Week. Winneshiek County, in a partnership with Luther College, has had events going all week.

Leopold was born in Burlington, IA in 1887.

Photo with quote comes courtesy of Winneshiek County Conservation


Graduation

UW-Madison

My classes through the University of Wisconsin ended on Sunday, and I’m happy to say I passed all my tests. I have earned a Statement of Accomplishment! Which I’m sure is one step up from a Gold Star… maybe even two steps. I was hoping for a Badger pelt, but I think one has to take a series of courses before you earn that. Maybe that trapping class…

The course was extremely well done, and I have to give credit to UW and the instructors for putting together such a well thought out and designed course.

A side element to the videos, lectures and reading material that did not have a direct bearing on my grade was the forum discussions that took place online. I simply didn’t have time to do much more than occasionally look into them, but they were lively discussions from what I saw.

Kudos to UW for formulating a course on hunting, wildlife management, conservation, and tying it into the larger picture of Leopold’s Land Ethic, as we are immersed in the challenges of this 21st century.