All photos and blog contributed by: Bob Strempka
Sunset provides the backdrop for magnificent views of hundreds to thousands of birds.
Medaryville – Autumn provides Northwest Indiana residents a rare spectacle in the arrival of Eastern Greater Sandhill Cranes to the Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area near Medaryville, Indiana. During October and November, thousands of the birds descend on the property during their migration from central Wisconsin breeding grounds to their winter habitat in Florida.
Jasper-Pulaski is located just west of US421 on State Road 143 between San Pierre and Medaryville. More than 10,000 birds are estimated to visit the area, with peak numbers of Cranes occurring in mid-November. Standing approximately three to four feet tall, the birds will forage in nearby corn fields adjacent to the property, and even as far away as farm fields along Indiana 10 and Indiana 49 near Wheatfield.
The birds stand three to four feet in height
An observation tower has been constructed on the Jasper-Pulaski property overlooking Goose Pasture where thousand of birds will suddenly converge to rest for the night. Sunrise is also a prime viewing time as the Cranes make their way back to the adjacent properties to feed.
The birds settle in for the evening near Goose Pasture against the Autumn earth-tones.
The weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are the best time to observe the birds, and if you can’t make it to Jasper-Pulaski during the Fall migration, the birds return while passing through in the Spring during March and early April.
For true fans of the Cranes, there is always hope that a rare Whooping Crane will arrive on the property as scientists have been transplanting their eggs into the nests of Sandhill Cranes as a method of preserving the Whooping Crane population, nearly extinct just decades ago. Whooping Cranes stand five feet tall and are almost pure white in color in contrast to the gray plumage of their Sandhill cousins.
Cranes make their way from a nearby field to Goose Pasture, their wings lit by the setting sun.
Cranes forage in an adjacent cornfield to the Jasper-Pulaski property.
Thank you to Bob Strempka for making the trip out to Jasper-Pulaski, writing about his experience and sharing these beautiful photos!