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Sights and Souns of Sandhill Cranes

Thomas D. Mangelsen has made it a yearly ritual to travel to the Mangelsen family cabin to witness the great crane migration. The courtship dance of the sandhill crane is one of Tom’s favorite behaviors to observe. In the spring, while roosting or feeding in meadows and fields, cranes elaborately bow with outstretched wings and leap into the air on fluttering wings. These graceful ‘dancing’ displays bond a crane pair for life.

Limited Edition titled Cranes of the Grey Wind

Early March snow flurries and dim morning light blend the soft greys of sandhill cranes standing in the shallow waters of a submerged sandbar. A pair of mallards and a female wigeon are dwarfed by the regal cranes whose ancestors have come to the Platte River for more than ten million years. Soon, mated pairs and family groups will come together, and like smoke rising from a chimney, great kettles of cranes will spiral and rise miles above the river. As they sail on southerly winds, the skeins of cranes will disappear against blue April skies—only the sounds of their ancient voices trailing back to earth as they journey to their northern home.

Cranes are among the oldest living birds on the planet. Fossils have been found that place cranes in Nebraska more than nine million years ago, long before the Platte River existed. With a wingspan reaching 6-7 feet, sandhill cranes migrate from Texas to as far north as Alaska—flying 25-35 mph and traveling 200-300 miles a day.

Every year from mid-February through mid-April, over 500,000 sandhill cranes along with thousands of ducks and geese converge on the Platte River in Nebraska, forming one of the world’s most spectacular wildlife displays. The Platte River Valley is the most important stop-over along the crane’s annual migration. The river provides the perfect spot to rest and safely roost on the sandbars at night. The nearby agricultural fields and wet meadows offer an abundance of food and the nutrition that the birds need to reach their breeding grounds in good condition.

Limited Edition titled Ancient Journey - Sandhill Cranes Open Edition titled Sandhill Glory
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UPCOMING GALLERY EVENTS:

March 16 | Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Art Gallery Walk from 5-8pm
Enjoy Jackson Hole's world class art galleries as you stroll through town before or after dinner. Tom will not be appearing at this event.

March 19 | LaJolla, California: Harbor Seal Talk & Walk at 2pm
It’s pupping season for harbor seals! Join us for a docent-led talk about Seal Biology and Behavior and a short Walk to Casa Beach to see the seals. Free and open to the public. Tom will not be appearing at this event.

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Copyright 2017 Thomas D. Mangelsen, Inc. All rights reserved.

Limited Edition titled A Touch of Ivory Limited Edition titled The Chosen One