default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Hundreds gather to learn about Sandhill cranes

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 4:28 pm | Updated: 8:52 am, Mon Nov 5, 2012.

David Moore was seated behind a long low table covered in a green cloth. Several small items rested before him. A tractor. Needle nosed pliers. Ballet slippers. A dinosaur figure. An unfilled red balloon. 

“I bet you’re wondering what these have to do with cranes,” he said to a couple passing by the table. 

Each item reflected a different aspect of life as a crane. The dinosaur was a nod to the millions of years cranes have survived as a species. Pliers and the balloon referred to the bird’s long beak and smooth head. And the tractor is a metaphor for the work by conservationists in crane habitats to keep them healthy. 

Moore is an interpretive services manager for the California Department of Fish and Game. He and dozens of other educators and vendors set up shop in the exhibition room at the Sandhill Crane Festival on Wednesday. 

Hundreds of birdwatchers brought their friends and families to Hutchins Street Square on Saturday to enjoy the 16th annual Sandhill Crane Festival. 

Several talks and workshops were offered through the day, from a presentation of crane communication to instructions on how to take great photos of birds in flight. 

Visitors also learned about the conservation of California’s wetlands as habitat for the graceful birds. 

The event was free to the public, save for some bus tours out to the crane’s habitat and a few workshops. The festival continues through Sunday. 

Bird kites lined the walls of Kirst Hall within the Square. Artists showcased paintings and carvings of birds, mostly the crane. 

Chester Wilcox, of Citrus Heights, was busily carving a redwing blackbird with a mini grinder meant for delicate dental work. The buzzing tool was ideal for outlining each tiny wing and detail of the bird coming to life under his hands.

There were over 30 carved birds that looked lifelike on the table for the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association. The group carves artistic versions of decoys used by hunters. 

“Birds have always fascinated me,” said Wilcox. “My favorite carving is always the newest.”

Tyler Smeenk, 9, and sister Corey Smeenk, 6, were exploring the exhibition hall with their mother Kiana Smeenk, before taking in the Wild Things presentation in the early afternoon. 

Tyler Smeenk was eager to check out the snakes and birds he was certain were waiting for him in the presentation. 

“If you learn about them, you can learn to protect them, and what to do if you find them in the wild,’ he said. 

Kelli Moulden, of Cameron Park, was browsing a display of handpainted bird images just after exiting a talk on sandhill crane behavior by Paul Tebbell of the Audobon Society. 

She is working on a new non profit organization called Hawks, Honkers and Hoots to educate residents about the relationship between raptors and waterfowl in the Central Valley. 

“I’m here to continue to learn, and to build my knowledge of the cranes,” she said. 

Back on Moore’s table, there also lay a small pair of pink ballet slippers.

The slippers represented the elaborate mating and territorial dances cranes perform.

“They make movements we can’t quite determine the reason for. I love that,” he said. “They dance for sheer joy.”

The DFG was present to educate visitors on the cranes and make them aware of the efforts to maintain their habitats. 

“Cranes are representative of our natural heritage. If we can get people interested in them, maybe they’ll look into the other creates in the ecosystem, too. It all ties together,” he said. 

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • Doug Chaney posted at 6:06 am on Mon, Nov 5, 2012.

    advocate Posts: 499

    What a great weekend and beautiful weather for the crane festival. Driving aroung downtown Lodi and the immediate area I was amazed to see downtown packed early in the morning, apparently for those having breakfast or early lunch and preparing to attend. Great job, organizers!



Popular Stories


Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 91


Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists