For whatever reason, the sandhill cranes have been hanging out a lot in our neighborhood this past week. Nearly any time I walk down the road, two, three or four of them are gathered in someone's yard or driveway. I feel bad when I disturb them, but usually they just stalk off. Occasionally they will squawk and ponderously take flight, only to land in the next yard down.
Like moose, bear, eagles and other exotic animals we have in Alaska, I have come to almost take sandhill cranes for granted. They are part of the scenery, but their loss would be noticed. The evening fly-overs with the distinctive croak-squawk are almost as regular as the Homer Air flights coming in each night. It is fun to look for the first ones in the spring, and then to keep an eye out for the little colts once the hatch happens. So whatever has sent the cranes our way this August, I am enjoying them!