Friday, September 4, 2009


On Wednesday, the sandhill cranes and the Canada geese left Interior Alaska. For weeks, the fields around Fairbanks had been filled with tall, lanky cranes and squat geese gorging on greens, grain, and bugs. Creamers Field swarmed with birds--ducks, geese, swans, cranes. We humans watched as entire fields of birds wheeled overhead, circling and calling, exercising their wings.

MP at Mattie's Pillow speculated that the birds were calling to each other in confusion--"which way? I thought you knew!" But I think the birds are saying something different: "Hey, this feels great! You're doing good! That's the way to do it! It's a long way South! Let's get going!" The skies have been filled with cacophony for days--sqawks, honks, calls, trumpets. Dozens of clumps of birds, heavy and awkward on the ground, but graceful in flight. And then, suddenly, sometime around noon on Wednesday, the skies fell silent. We went outside to notice the quiet. Nothing on the horizon but blue skies and lumpy clouds. Farewell, birds! See you this spring! Fly safe, be well, and come back to us.

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