Sandhill Cranes in the Winter

I had the opportunity to visit some Sandhill Cranes at a roosting site on the Wisconsin River last month. This was one of the last possible opportunities to photograph them before they migrated south for the winter.

Winter means early sunset and the cranes didn’t arrive till the light was failing. Nevertheless, the vast numbers of cranes arriving together gave me an opportunity to try some long exposures. I particularly like how the cranes in flight look like wraiths in the air.

Long exposure of Sandhill Cranes arriving for the night

Another long exposure of Sandhill Cranes flying in

I also tried some artistic blurs with the cranes when they finally landed close by when it was almost completely dark out.

But blur or not, the sounds of these vast numbers made for a memorable night.

I did manage to get back to this site in a couple of weeks as the river was starting to freeze over. The light was still poor, but I spent some time with them in a virtual blizzard as the snow came down while they came in for the night.



Click below for a number of other images of these cranes in the snow.

Until next year cranes!

Cranes departing the icy roost

Sandhill Crane in blizzard

Many thanks to the Aldo Leopold Foundation for making these visits possible.

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