SANDHILL CRANES, ROWE SANCTUARY, 2010


After missing the 2009 season due to illness, I came up here on 25 February.  It was cold, snowy, and the Platte was frozen.  The only cranes I saw was a flock of 20 over Lincoln.  What they were doing over there is anybody’s guess.  Bet they wondered, too.

But the weather has changed, and here are some YouTube videos.  If you go to mrqssm, you will see all the videos I took.  The audio is outstanding, and the last was the best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inYeOS_Gm6k

What does a volunteer do?  Just about anything!  Rowe is part of Audubon, but they get NO funding from the national.  Everything they spend they must raise.  There are only four staff members–Bill, Kent, Tony and Keanna, and they are all very different people who work very well together.  They are the engine, but the volunteers are the fuel that make the place run.  Rowe needs people in the gift shop, showing people the birds outside during the day, somebody to run errands, to run the crane cam, to give crane lectures, to clean the place, sweep, clean the bathrooms, re-stock, greet people in the parking lot, do maintenance work, etc. etc.!!

I was early season, so there were few visitors.  What did I do?  Hauled a box spring through the upstairs window, since it wouldn’t fit going up the stairs.  I set up camouflage at two blinds, using drills and staple guns.  I re-hung 19 windows in one of the blinds, using drilling and various boy scout knots.  I made beds, cleaned bird poop off the building and the sidewalk, knocked down old nests, which led to the former.  I built an analemmatic sundial by the parking lot.  I got a complaint that it was slow, but that is because the Sun is running slow.  Or our watches are running fast!!

I helped Tony set up the Crane Cam upstream.  I got to play with great power tools, drive a beat up but serviceable pickup through rural Nebraska, saw Sun reflect off snow geese (yes, they are incredible pests, eating their way out of their habitat–like humans, I might add–but they are pretty) and had the blinds to myself morning and evening before season opener.  I hacked down weeds around three blinds with a retired Kearney math teacher, so we could talk math.

Oh yes, I got to meet Mike Forsberg, the renowned wildlife photographer, and was able to give him some information about moonrise azimuth.  I talked to him in a blind one night, just the two of us, the same day he signed a book he authored for me.  He then sent me five lovely pictures he took.  Was that cool or what?

And I got to meet loads of great local Nebraskans who come to volunteer there as well.  They were all great, and while a couple thought I was the Energizer bunny, it was only because I kept forgetting stuff and was running all over the place.  Want to do something good with your time?  Rowe needs volunteers!  Want to contribute to something worthwhile?  Rowe Sanctuary is a place to do so!

Some other pictures:

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