We have a lot of Sandhill Cranes around here, and it seems they are forever gathering, circling, and preparing to migrate but they never really leave. They are cool birds to have around because they have such interesting voices. The strange grating, grinding sound sneaks up on you until you can’t help but look up to see if it really is for real. Often they are off in the distance but their call is so loud you can hear them coming for good while.
I remember seeing a documentary once about a migration gathering point down south where birdwatchers come early in the morning to sneak into blinds and wait for the masses of cranes to arrive. Our birds are still here in February so surely they don’t plan to leave at this point. We often see them gathered in local cornfields, looking like grey ghosts, not much meat on them and all long lines and beaks.
Funny how ordinary Canadian geese have become mundane and boring in comparison to the Sandhill cranes with all their personality. Certainly, the geese are much better organized into their precision “V” formation. The cranes make a half-hearted attempt at a line and sometimes even a gooselike “V”, but they just can’t seem to get their act together.