A World-Class Gathering

A World-Class GatheringCelebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here’s a program from our archives.Every spring, Sandhill Cranes migrate from their Gulf Coast homes to nesting grounds as far north as Siberia. Along the way, their stopover on Nebraska’s Platte River makes for a spectacular annual event. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Ambience, Sand Hill cranesSand hill cranes begin descending on the Platte River around February of each year. Over a period of about 5 to 6 weeks, half a million cranes will stop to feed and rest in the shallow waters of the Platte River. Pembleton: There’s a spiritual quality, if you will, to these birds.Ed Pembleton is director of water resources for the National Audobon Society.Pembleton: As cranes come into the river to roost at night, they typically will fly in large chevrons. It’s kind of like a spring gathering, a spring ritual if youwill. It’s perhaps one of the most spectacular wildlife sights one can see along the Platte. The cranes only roost where the river is shallow and broad. Over the years, irrigation systems and other diversions have reduced the Platte River’s flow through central Nebraska by 70%. Pembleton says that it’s important to manage the water well, to preserve the cranes’ remaining habitat.When you’ve been on the Platte specifically, and seen this wonderful congregation, one can understand that they really are a hallmark of the quality that we’re willing to preserve in this country in the environment.I just can’t conceive of going to the river and there not being any cranes and I think it would be an unforgivable sin formankind to let this wonderful world class gathering of cranesexpire in some way.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet

A World-Class Gathering

The yearly migration of Sand Hill Cranes brings half a million birds to roost in Nebraska's Platte River.
Air Date:03/04/2020
Scientist:
Transcript:

A World-Class GatheringCelebrating three decades of Pulse of the Planet, here's a program from our archives.Every spring, Sandhill Cranes migrate from their Gulf Coast homes to nesting grounds as far north as Siberia. Along the way, their stopover on Nebraska's Platte River makes for a spectacular annual event. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Ambience, Sand Hill cranesSand hill cranes begin descending on the Platte River around February of each year. Over a period of about 5 to 6 weeks, half a million cranes will stop to feed and rest in the shallow waters of the Platte River. Pembleton: There's a spiritual quality, if you will, to these birds.Ed Pembleton is director of water resources for the National Audobon Society.Pembleton: As cranes come into the river to roost at night, they typically will fly in large chevrons. It's kind of like a spring gathering, a spring ritual if youwill. It's perhaps one of the most spectacular wildlife sights one can see along the Platte. The cranes only roost where the river is shallow and broad. Over the years, irrigation systems and other diversions have reduced the Platte River's flow through central Nebraska by 70%. Pembleton says that it's important to manage the water well, to preserve the cranes' remaining habitat.When you've been on the Platte specifically, and seen this wonderful congregation, one can understand that they really are a hallmark of the quality that we're willing to preserve in this country in the environment.I just can't conceive of going to the river and there not being any cranes and I think it would be an unforgivable sin formankind to let this wonderful world class gathering of cranesexpire in some way.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast. Im Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet