Sandhill Cranes Spotted Migrating South on 11-25-2012 in Woodstock, GA

I was in the garden on Sunday, Nov 25, removing the last of the tomato plants. We had had our first hard frost on Saturday night and the tomato plants had wilted. As I worked, I heard the sweet sound of Sandhill Cranes chortling and saw several V-shaped flocks heading south.

On Monday, Nov 26, I heard a flock nearby. I went into our front yard and a flock was over our home, circling in an updraft, using the solar heated air to gain elevation without having to climb using their own power.

I look forward to seeing them twice a year. I have documented their migrations in the blog for about 10 years. The Sandhill Cranes seem to be able to predict the duration of winter. When they pass by heading south earlier than usual, it means winter starts early. When the are flying north early, it means winter is ending early. I value their foresight.

sandhill crane

Can Sandhill Cranes Predict Weather?

On Feb 5, 2012, we saw sandhill cranes migrating north. That is very early to be headed north compared to our sightings over the last few years. Normally, they wait until March.

We saw them migrating south around Jan 1, 2012. That was about a month later than usual.

The winter here has been very warm in February and March (as of March 15). Here, on March 15 in the Atlanta area, it is sunny and 81 degrees.

How did the sandhill cranes know it was going to be a mild, short winter?

 

Flocks of Sandhill Cranes Above

I was working outside putting a deer fence around our garden on the weekends of Nov 15 and 22. Occasionally I heard the wonderful sound of sandhill cranes chortling as they migrate south. I took several videos of the flocks but they were so high that you can't see much (given the limited zoom of my Flip camcorder). Nonetheless, here's a video of the sandhill crane flocks passing over.

Links to sightings