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On this page, I'll tell about some recent, interesting wildlife sightings and experiences by me, my family, or close friends. I plan to change this page monthly, so come back to visit.
< A RARE SIGHTING

Early last summer my wife and I had a most unusual experience. We were driving on a main highway near our home, with open farmland on either side. In the distance we saw two large birds flying towards us quite low about twice treetop height. At first we thought that they were Canada geese, which are quite common around here at that time of year.

As they drew nearer, we realized that the birds were larger than Canada geese, and then could see that they had long legs trailing out behind. Our immediate reaction was to say, "Great blue herons." Then, as they passed overhead, I realized that they had their necks extended forward full length. This is definitely not a trait of the heron family, whose members, including such things as egrets, fly with their necks bent back so that their heads rest on their shoulders. Simultaneously, my wife remarked that there was something besides legs sticking out at the rear of the birds.

Improbable as it seemed we concluded that these birds had to be sandhill cranes, which we had always thought were exclusively a western species.. Cranes fly with head and neck extended, and what my wife had seen was the bustlelike tail assembly worn by cranes. They clearly weren't whooping cranes, so they had to be sandhills. As soon as we returned home, we checked our bird books. Sure enough, in one of them we found the information that there's a small population of sandhill cranes along the Atlantic coast. Then I called a biologist friend at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and told him of the sighting. He informed me that there have been one or two confirmed sightings of sandhill cranes in Vermont each year for about the past 12 years.

Illustrations of Owls and Wolf by Trudy Nicholson
from Owls Aren't Wise and Bats Aren't Blind
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