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The Practical Balance of Crane Conservation

Illustration Credit: Rising Up by Betony Coons

You might expect an organized birdwatching trip to begin serenely in the predawn dark and quiet. But birdwatchers at the Crane Trust start their journey in a brightly lit room, being preemptively chided by a naturalist. “We want you all to have a good time, but the birds are our big concern,” says Karen Krull Robart, glaring around the room. “Nothing happens in the viewing blind that hurts my cranes.” The light from your cell phone? Conversations above a whisper? Expect ejection. And if your camera looks like it might even think about flashing, she’s happy to cover it with black electrical tape.Welcome to the sandhill crane migration on Nebraska’s Platte River. Every March, more than 500,000 sandhill cranes converge in central Nebraska, fattening up on corn waste for their migration to Alaska, Canada, and Siberia. The sight and sound of thousands of birds landing, dancing, sleeping, squawking, and taking off in great clouds is a spiritual experience, but nowadays, that depends on human intervention. Without passionate defenders like Robart, the cranes’ habitat would shrink to nothing. Crane tourism in N …

By Teresa Bergen. Click here for more!

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ConversationAnimal RightsEcologyActivism

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