Looduskalender in Vikerraadio: Common cranes are gathering

Submitted by Looduskalender on Sat, 08.09.2018 - 21:09

The author, Kristel Vilbaste, also posts texts in Vikerraadio

Photo: Arne Ader

Translation into English by Maret

Estonian text posted 14.08.2018


A flock of common cranes


August the 10th is St. Lawrence’s Day and August 15th is the Day of the Assumption of Mary, and for the farmers they mean that the fall labours should have started.

In the old days, that was the time for sowing rye and looking up to see, if the cranes, the “sowing cranes”, were flying high or low. If they flew high up, it meant that the rye would grow tall, if they flew low, the rye would remain low as well. Apples would acquire their proper taste and forests would be full of berries.

There is another reason as well to look up to the skies right now.

Firstly, the night sky, if it is not covered with clouds, could be full of flying stars, Perseids. Some nights you can see so many of them, that you’ll be able to wish all your wishes. And one of your wishes could surely be to see the northern lights, as the season for those has started as well.

But far away from city lights there will be other gathering as well. You may call them “sowing cranes” or not, but flocks of hundreds of common cranes are enriching the scenery. During the day they gorge themselves on seeds shed after the harvest, and then fly to some wetter surroundings to spend their nights.

We’ll see such flying to and fro well into September.

If you happen to find some bales of litter in the fields close to where the cranes gather, you could build yourself a shelter to watch their actions.

We can still tell the difference between this year’s young ones, who are evenly gray, and the old birds, whose heads are striped black and white and crowned with a little red hat. And as the old birds shed their old feathers around this time each year, you may find some really lovely crane feathers in the fields.

Such flocks of cranes make us think of fall, but as long as the cranes are still here, we don’t have to fear the worst weather yet.

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