Illuminated - Glasgow Barren County 2016 - Page 12

OUTDOORS FLOCKING FOWL Sandhill Cranes roost on Barren River Lake’s mudflats BY GINA KINSLOW LUCAS – Greater Sandhill Cranes glide across the sky, propelling themselves forward with a downward flap and rapid upstroke of their wings, with their legs extended beyond their tails with their necks outstretched. They fly in V-shaped and X-shaped patterns and sometimes in random groups much like waterfowl. Often they will catch a thermal updraft and fly in a circular pattern, climbing higher and higher. “Most of the time you will hear them way before you see them,” said Wayne Tamminga, a public lands biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources at the Barren River Wildlife Management Area. The birds have a unique call. “It can be heard from 3 miles away,” he 12 Glasgow-Barren County, Kentucky: Illuminated said, adding their call sounds a bit like a French horn. “They each have their own individual sound. They can contact one another even if there are 10,000 of them.” Greater Sandhill Cranes have been migrating to Barren River Lake to roost on the lake’s mudflats for years. When Tamminga began working as a public lands biologist at Barren River Lake in 1994 there were about 800 birds that spent the winter on the lake.