Graced with illustrations by the author, Crane Music introduces the two North American crane species. The sandhill, most often seen, is within easy reach of bird-watchers in the center of the continent. Less visible is the whooping crane, struggling back from near extinction. Paul Johnsgard follows these elegant birds through a year’s cycle, describing their seasonal migrations, natural habitats, breeding biology, call patterns—angelic to the bird-lover’s ear—and fascinating dancing.The largest and most spectacular migratory concentration of cranes happens each spring when the Platte River valley becomes the staging ground for an amazing gathering of four hundred thousand to five hundred thousand sandhills en route from the South to the Arctic tundra. Johnsgard describes this incredible event as well as memorable personal encounters with the cranes. His knowledge of them transcends natural history, covering their importance in religion and mythology.
Paul A. Johnsgard is Foundation Professor of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska. He is a foremost authority on ornithology and bird behavior, and his many books include Those of the Gray Wind: The Sandhill Cranes (Nebraska 1986) and This Fragile Land: A Natural History of the Nebraska Sandhills (Nebraska 1995).
"A valuable contribution to the crane literature. Readers interested in natural history, both professional and amateur, will derive pleasure and excitement from this book."—Ibis
"Lyrically written."—Indiana Audubon Quarterly
"A concise but thorough history of cranes. . . . They have stimulated [Johnsgard’s] scientific curiosity and moved him to write evocative passages describing some of their unique behaviors and vocalizations."—Florida Wildlife
Winner of the 2004 National Conservation Achievement Award and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), both sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation.