The great sandhill crane convergence

Sandhill cranes are a big draw for birdwatchers. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

MEDARYVILLE, Ind. — Thousands of sandhill cranes are converging in rural northwestern Indiana as part of their annual fall migration, and birdwatchers are once again lining up for a view of the spectacle.

The birds head south every fall from Alaska and Canada down to Florida, Texas, and Mexico, and they stop at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area along the way to rest and feed.

The marsh-filled wildlife area, about 40 miles southeast of Gary, has long been a pit stop for cranes as they migrate from late September through December.

The last count from Indiana’s DNR indicates that just over 30,000 of the cranes have converged in the area this fall at one time, and that’s more than at any point last year, WSBT-TV reported.

Ellen Branson from Cary, Illinois, visited the wildlife area last weekend with her family, who were happy to get outside at a time when so many people have been cooped up inside during the coronavirus pandemic..

“This is the only thing we are doing today, so we drove out about 2-1/2 hours. This was the main event,” Branson said.

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