The Sandhill Cranes are returning to the Kenai Peninsula yet again. Kachemak Crane Watch also has a new program in its third year that aims to track their population growth.
The call of the Sandhill Crane and it’s synonymous with this time of year. Nina Faust is the co-founder of Kachemak Crane Watch. She says her job includes keeping track of the crane population and, as of recently, keeping track of which cranes are raising young.
"We're also doing a three-year nesting ecology study to determine how many pairs are nesting in the area and how much of a success rate we're having with the colts that fledge each year," she said.
Faust says the cranes are a significant feature of the peninsula, both culturally and because they represent the changing of the seasons. She says the cranes always seem to show up on or around Earth Day, so it came as little to no surprise that was exactly what happened this year.
"The first one came in (April) 19th and I think they were high fliers," said Faust. "And then starting this morning at 9:00 a.m., Otto Kilcher called me and said there were 200 cranes flying in a V-formation toward town."
While the first cranes of the season have been spotted, Faust says Kachemak Crane Watch is still taking calls from anyone who sees them, especially with the fledgling Nesting Ecology Study still collecting information.
For more information about the Kachemak Crane Watch or to submit any spottings of cranes, call 235-6262 or visit cranewatch.org.