Thursday, December 12, 2013
Sandhill cranes spotted flying over Ijams this morning
NEWS FLASH: A flock of at least 19 sandhill cranes flew over Ijams within the hour: 9 a.m.
Dr. Louise Conrad and I first heard their distinctive bugling calls and then spotted them, circling, gaining altitude east of the nature center before they continued their migration south perhaps to Hiwassee Wildlife Management Area.
Luckily, we heard no shots since the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission recently passed (much to the chagrin of 88 percent of the state's respondents) a limited hunting season on the beautiful birds.
"Commission members allowed the sandhill crane hunt despite massive opposition from Tennesseans who answered polls -- and attended the commission's two-day meeting in Knoxville," reported Louie Brogdon in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "The commission received more than 1,000 responses from the public about the crane hunt; 888 opposed it."
Here's a thought: With so many European starlings out there, millions of them, pests, nesting in dryer vents and newspaper boxes, destructive to other species, who needs another bird to shoot? And besides hitting a starling is a better display of marksmanship than shooting a four-and-a-half foot tall crane that doesn't choose a mate and start raising a family until it's five years old.
In January, Ijams often leads a carpool outing to Hiwassee to see the gathered cranes. Watch our website for details.
- Stephen Lyn Bales
Posted by Stephen Lyn Bales at 9:40 AM