THE BIRDING COMMUNITY E-BULLETIN
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On the morning of 27 January, Paul Dunbar discovered a Common Crane in Hall County, Nebraska, southwest of Grand Island. It was accompanying a group of about 2,000-2,500 Sandhill Cranes.
Common Cranes regularly breed in Eurasia, wintering from southern Eurasia to sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. There are only about 20 reports of this species for North America, but it is not known how many of these represent legitimate wild birds. Common Cranes seen in Nebraska generally accompanying large flocks of Sandhill Cranes are usually presumed to be wild birds. Such individuals are thought to have probably followed Sandhill Cranes from Siberia to North America.
By late January, the crane’s pattern of occurrence became established, and by February, many birders were able to locate it at one or another of the regular sighting locations in the area.
The crane was observed almost daily, and always with a large flock of Sandhill Cranes. Paul Dunbar was gracious enough to keep tabs on the bird and to inform visiting birders of its daily whereabouts until it was last seen on 19 February.