Sandhill Cranes gather by the thousands along the Platte River this time of year. Even on a overcast grey morning, it’s an amazing sight to see the islands formed in the river from sleeping crane families. As they fly from the river, it’s often in large groups. If you want to learn more about cranes, read the book about cranes by Paul A. Johnsgard, with photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen. It is called A chorus of Cranes, published by the University Press of Colorado.
The cranes feed in fields along the Platte during the day, then return to the river at night.
Two years ago, I visited a Prairie Chicken lek in northern Nebraska. It was another early morning wait in a photography blind for the birds to wake up and begin their mating dance. Most of the people in the blind were professional photographers with amazing cameras, but I captured a few pictures of male Prairie Chickens showing off for the gals.
Weather permitting, I hope to see the mating dance of the Sharp-tailed Grouse this weekend. When I’m home, I watch Doves, Blue Jays, Finches, and Woodpeckers eat from the birdfeeder outside my kitchen window. Bird watching is way for me to chart the season’s changes. I find peace in Mother Nature’s company, at home, or in a bird’s backyard.