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Graced with illustrations by the author, Crane Music introduces the two North American crane species. The sandhill, most often seen, is within easy reach of bird-watchers in the center of the continent. Less visible is the whooping crane, struggling back from near extinction. Paul Johnsgard follows these elegant birds through a year’s cycle, describing their seasonal migrations, natural habitats, breeding biology, call patterns—angelic to the bird-lover’s ear—and fascinating dancing.The largest and most spectacular migratory concentration of cranes happens each spring when the Platte River valley becomes the staging ground for an amazing gathering of four hundred thousand to five hundred thousand sandhills en route from the south to the Arctic tundra. Johnsgard describes this incredible event as well as memorable personal encounters with the cranes. His knowledge of them transcends natural history, covering their importance in religion and mythology.

"A valuable contribution to the crane literature. Readers interested in natural history, both professional and amateur, will derive pleasure and excitement from this book." - Ibis

"Lyrically written." - Indiana Audubon Quarterly

"A concise but thorough history of cranes ...They have stimulated (Johnsgard's) scientific curiosity and moved him to write evocative passages describing some of their unique behaviors and vocalizations." - Florida Wildlife

Born in Fargo, North Dakota, PAUL JOHNSGARD is Foundation Professor of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska — Lincoln. One of the world's foremost authorities on ornithology and bird behavior, his thirty-four books include The Niobrara: A River Running Through Time, Song of the North Wind: A Story of the Snow Goose (1974), Those of the Gray Wind: The Sandhill Cranes (1981), and The Platte: Channels in Time (1984). He was educated at North Dakota State University (BS), Washington State University (MS), and Cornell University (PhD). His recent book, This Fragile Land: A Natural History of the Nebraska Sandhills (1995), "is an extended love letter to the Sandhills region and its people, plants, and animals." His primary interest is the comparative behavior of birds. His field work has taken him to North and South America, Australia, and Europe. He wrote the script for "A Passion for Birds," aired as part of the PBS Nature special "Cranes of the Grey Wind" (1990). Among his many books is a whimsical volume on dragons and unicorns, co-authored with his daughter. He is the author, most recently, of Prairie Birds: Fragile Splendor in the Great Plains (UP of Kansas, 2001).

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