Late afternoon Wednesday, I watched several hundred sandhill cranes were gathering into kettles, flying in circles to gain higher altitudes near Turner Tract in Genoa City before heading farther north. It was awesome! A couple of whooping cranes were also flying over. Robins and red-winged blackbirds are returning. Every migrating bird you see is a survivor that has made a trip south in fall, and a return trip now – that could easily be 2,000 to 3,000+ miles in the past 8-9 months!

You can help migrating birds, especially those that travel throughout the night following stars, by dimming (better yet, turn off) yard lights. If you must have some light, switch to yellow bulbs, or put a shield the fixture to force light down (not up). And check out to monitor the nightly action on radar. Remember, migration time continues into May for warbler species.

Rethink your outdoor light use. A bonus of dark skies is it also protects insects, such as fireflies (they need to see each other’s lights to find mates). Moths get “trapped” by lights (remember their caterpillars are bird food). Yep, everything is connected.

Be a good neighbor.


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