April 17, 2014 - Annual Crane Count

This past Saturday was the Midwest Annual Crane Count, so of course, I was out counting cranes. The crane count started in 1976 as a survey of the Sandhill Crane population and crane-habitable wetlands in Columbia County. The count expanded over the years to include more and more counties in Wisconsin and in 1994 - the year I first got involved-it also included counties in Minnesota and Michigan and became the Midwest Sandhill Crane Count. Every year, at the beginning of April, (usually before Turkey hunting season but some times during) from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m., I get out of my warm bed, hit the road at 5 a.m. with a cup of coffee in one hand and my yellow legal pad for note taking in the other (Of course I don't drink coffee and take notes at the same time nor do I drive and take notes.) and I head up to the same sites I have been visiting for the past 20 years. Some years I see and hear cranes. Some years I don't see any cranes but hear them. Some years I see cranes across the road from "my" site and can't count them. Some years it has rained so the cranes are silent. Some years it has snowed so the cranes aren't saying much. Some years it has been so cold and windy that even the robins and cardinals are quiet. But I go every year because some years the sun is shining and the cranes have a lot to say and they are jubilantly dancing and there isn't a finer feeling in the early morning hours of an April day. This year, even though the skies were overcast I did have cranes on all my sites. Some were flying. Some were calling. Some were eating breakfast. And there were more cranes on the trip south to DeForest. And now for something completely different... overcast skies produce the perfect circumstances for sustained, indoor reading. Coincidentally the library has a lot of fine new book titles to help you take advantage of the great reading weather. Enjoy!

  • cover art The thing with feathers : the surprising lives of birds, and what they reveal about being human / by Noah Strycker. An associate editor for "Birding "draws on his expertise in a range of extreme environments to offer insights into bird behavior and intelligence, from the flocking abilities of starlings to the memories of nutcrackers, while revealing the unexpected intimate coexistence between birds and humans.
  • cover art Thrive / by Ariana Huffington. Looking way beyond power and money, the president of The Huffington Post Media Group introduces the Third Metric--the importance of wellbeing, wisdom and fulfillment, which will help all of us reinvent what it means to be successful in the workplace and in our personal lives.
  • cover art Uganda be kidding me / by Chelsea Handler. A new collection of humorous essays about her life, loves and the state of the world from the "New York Times" late-night talk show star and best-selling author.
  • cover art The body doesn't lie : a 3-step program to end chronic pain and become positively radiant / by Vicky Vlachonis. An osteopath and "Goop "contributor presents a revolutionary new program that has been medically proven to trigger the same releases as massage, yoga, spinal adjustments and cranial-sacral therapy, eradicating emotional and physical pain.
  • cover art The Hungry Girl diet : Big portions. Big results. Drop 10 pounds in 4 weeks / by Lisa Lillien. A diet based on the Hungry Girl philosophy shares the author's signature "super-sizing" techniques combined with guilt-free recipes in a four-week plan that includes tips for staying on target, dining out and making strategic choices at the grocery store.
  • cover art The Hiltons : the true story of an American dynasty / by J. Randy Taraborrelli. This epic story of the family that established the model for the modern luxury hotel industry sheds new light on its demanding and enigmatic patriarch Conrad Hilton, who struggled with emotional detachment, failed marriages and conflicted Catholicism, and his children.
  • cover art Aloha betrayed : a Murder, she wrote mystery : a novel by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain. After giving a lecture at Maui College in Hawaii, Jessica Fletcher and retired local detective Mike Kane investigate the murder of a popular professor and activist, who was odds with plans to construct a large solar telescope on ecologically delicate land.
  • cover art Destroyer angel / by Nevada Barr. Testing outdoor sporting equipment designed for a disabled companion, U.S. Park Services ranger Anna Pigeon returns from a solo outing to discover that her fellow campers have been abducted.
  • cover art Night diver / by Elizabeth Lowell. Returning to the Caribbean island of St. Vincent to help save her family's treasure-hunting business, financial expert Kate Donnelly must form an uneasy alliance with British military diver Holden Cameron when equipment, treasure and even divers start disappearing into the depths of the ocean.
  • cover art Carnal curiosity / by Stuart Woods. Investigating a series of clever crimes targeting Manhattan's elite, Stone and Dino are drawn into the world of high-end security and fraud only to discover that the mastermind behind the incidents may have intimate ties to Stone. By the Edgar Award-winning author of "Chiefs".
  • cover art Frog music : a novel / by Emma Donoghue. Burlesque dancer Blanche Beunon tries to discover who murdered her friend Jenny, who was shot through a window in a railroad saloon in 1876 San Francisco, amidst a record-breaking heat wave and smallpox epidemic.
  • cover art High crime area : tales of darkness and dread / by Joyce Carol Oates. This brilliant, yet disturbing, collection of eight original stories from the unrivaled investigator of human flaws tests the bonds between damaged individuals, showing just how full--and how devoid--of humanity we can be.