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LGB

sandhill crane migration

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For whatever reason, I noticed an unprecedented number (for me) of sandhill cranes flying North through Atlanta yesterday. In the space of five minutes, four flocks of at least 100 birds each flew directly overhead at an altitude of about 3/8 mile above our 1000 feet ambient elevation. They would slowly drift and aggregate with stragglers into what looked like schools of minnows before heading out again for their destination. Their constant croaking cries were the dead giveaway to their presence overhead. Are these numbers routine, or is their population growing significantly? In previous years, I may have seen an occassional "kettle" of perhaps 75 birds, but the quantity yesterday astounded me. Comments?

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Spring is in the air ,and they are probably on the move back up North to mate and nest. I have heard reports of the Snow Geese also on the move , so Spring is definitely just around the corner.

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I saw a small group yesterday over Decatur, Ga. near Atlanta), in somewhat of a muddle but they got straightebned out and headed north. Last year about this time (I keep a bird log) I saw an armada of cranes traveling north-wave after wave of them all one afternoon. It was amazing!

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Big SmileSmileWhat a thrill! I, too, have happily been witnessing large numbers of migrating Sandhill Cranes over the Atlanta area within the last week. I absolutely LOVE seeing them & hearing their wonderfully distinctive sound. On Monday (2/22), several huge flocks (over 100 in each) passed over my house (Smyrna area)---flying much lower than usual (perhaps due to low cloud cover).  Yesterday @ around 4pm I saw an astoundingly large group (300+?) 'regrouping' overhead (again, flying much lower) in the Sandy Springs/Northside Drive area while I was driving westbound on I-285---I almost crashed my car in excitement!

I certainly hope that their numbers are increasing---I look forward to seeing & hearing them both in the Fall on their way South & in early Spring as they are wending their way back North. Perhaps the Atlanta Audobon Society has addt'l info (atlantaaudubon.org). Anyone else out there as excited about this as I am?

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Watching those cranes is just about the high point of my typical birding year, which can include such cool things as mirroring the calls of a resident barred owl right here in Buckhead, watching a pileated strip huge chunks of bark off one of my pine trees at ground level while I stood there 15 feet away with my jaw agape, and inadvertently stumbling onto an American Woodcock's twilight display spiral in the North Georgia mountains.

So it's really good to know that the the numbers of sandhills I witnesssed are not out of the ordinary.

 Thanks.

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Hi LGB---it's great knowing that watching the sandhill crane migration is the high point of your typical birding year...it's the highlight of mine too! Some members of my family think I'm absolutely daft---they just don't 'get it'.

I'm also happy to know that there are pileated woodpeckers in B'head! I visit the "Duck Pond" near P'tree Way quite often during the Spring/Summer months...the most unusual bird I've seen there was an Indigo Bunting. 

However, early last Summer I was privileged to have witnessed a pair of pileateds & their 2 fledgelings cavorting in my backyard---imagine: 4 of them together in MY YARD!

...hope to hear more about your 'sightings' in the future...thanks!

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Gonna try to get this conversation going again - I was heading south on 400 yesterday near Abernathy (right before the toll plaza) and saw  4 or 5 groups of Sandhill Cranes heading left to right (roughly Northwest).  There were about 20 to 30 in each group (maybe 120 birds?), and they were at about 4 different elevations.  And they were defintiely in no hurry.  A number were trying to figure out which way they wanted to go.

My wife also saw a huge group in the Sope Creek area of Marietta this week. 

 

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There were at least four separate flocks of 60-100 birds in each flock that flew through Forsyth County yesterday near Hwy 20 about 500 yards from the river a little after noon.  I was astounded to see the flocks cross over the Chattahoochee from Gwinnett and fly at what seemed very low to me right over my house.  The first flock stalled and circle overhead calling until a second broken flock joined.  The birds regrouped and flew on.  About 3 minutes later another flock came, circled, waiting for the fourth flock to join. The entire display from beginning to end lasted for what seemed like 10 minutes.  It was an amazing experience -- really like no other birding experience that I've witnessed.  It moved me to tears.

One interesting note:  a vulture flew smack dab throught the middle of the first flock circling over my house as if he too were intrigued.  It was quite amusing.

About two weeks ago I was traveling from Knoxville TN back to Atlanta and spotted a small flock of 40-50 standing in a pasture at a dairy farm along I-75 in Monroe County (Sweetwater TN.)  I do believe that a stop over point - Hiawasee Refuge - is close by this location. 

Hope others in the area got to see the show!

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About 6:00 pm this evening I saw a small flock of about ten milling around. I am on the Dawson/Forsyth line just a few miles from the river.  A friend just contacted me and said they are at her pond. This I have to go see. She's not a bird person, so she may have just seen one Blue Heron. It is just a heron.

My spring is now complete!!!  I only wish I had seen the sighting over 20 at the Chattahoochee.  

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This morning around 10:00 I saw 9 sandhills flying rather low and circling above my garden. They seemed to be trying to decide who was to be in front of the formation. My Dad always loved to see the sandhills migrate. It is a beautiful site to see.

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I'm in the North Georgia mountians (Blairsville) and I have never seen Cranes before. Are they already gone? Are they in my area?

Thanks!

Stewart

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I work near Schaumburg, IL (20 minutes from O'Hare) and I saw some today!! Absolutely amazing!! I love the way one flock circles and waits for the others to catch up and then they all move on together. I was not expecting them yet- I wonder if they could they be a little bit early? Looked like there were maybe 40 or 50 and then about 15 minutes later there were more.

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Was in the parking lot a few minutes ago (just north of Atlanta) and saw maybe a couple hundred go by.

 I had always wondered what kind of birds they were, but they were so high. Even with binoculars it was hard to tell. Someone else was out in the parking lot and said they were sandhill cranes.

 I used to see them every year for the past handful of years except last year.

 What amazed me was three or four years ago I saw them. If there was one there was well over a thousand of them. They made two swirling masses and smaller groups would catch up and join the others. When it seemed like they all caught up, they would start peeling off in smaller groups, form their V's and move on. I watched for at least twenty minutes before I had to start moving on myself.

 It really was an awesome sight!

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