Those of the Gray Wind: The Sandhill Cranes

Those of the Gray Wind: The Sandhill Cranes

Those of the Gray Wind: The Sandhill Cranes

Those of the Gray Wind: The Sandhill Cranes

Synopsis

With Paul A. Johnsgard, we follow the migration of the sandhill cranes from the American Southwest to their Alaskan breeding grounds and back again, an annual pattern that has persisted over millions of years. By selecting four historic time frames of the migration between 1860 and 1980, Johnsgard illustrates how humans have influenced the flocks and how different American cultures have variously responded to the birds and perceived their value.

Each section focuses on the interactions between children of four different American cultures and sandhill cranes, triggered by events occurring during the annual life cycle of the cranes. The story is enriched by the author's exquisite illustrations, by Zuni prayers, and by Inuit and Pueblo legends. With a new preface and afterword and a new gallery of photographs by the author, Those of the Gray Wind is a classic story of a timeless ritual that can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Excerpt

On a beautiful morning in May 1980 I was relaxing outside our family’s Minnesota lake cabin, listening to loons calling, musing about nature, and wondering what I should write next. About a decade previously I had written a popular book describing a fictional year in the lives of a family of snow geese, which had been partly based on my experiences with these geese in the Canadian arctic. I idly wondered if I could write a similar book on another of my favorite species, the sandhill crane, that might be both readable and of interest to younger people. I felt it should also provide basic information on crane biology, accurately reflect their lives and dangerous migrations across North America, and somehow draw connections between cranes and humans, especially children. I additionally wanted to include some recognition of the diverse human . . .

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