We were at the driving range which was unusually busy last Tuesday when we heard an agonzied, bugling cry. A sandhill crane had been hit by a car. All traffic came to a standstill and as I looked back at the row of golfers on the driving range, every single one of them stood mesmerized by the sight on the roadway. Everyone looked solemn, sad, and worried.
I watched as the car that hit the crane slowly pulled to the side of the road and as drivers in nearby cars pulled over and got out to lend a hand.
Finally the driver who hit the crane turned around and joined the onlookers.
And saddest of all, the injured crane's companions made their way to the victim. Sandhill cranes mate for life so in my mind the first one over was his mate. Then the rest of the flock followed.
But what impressed me most about the whole incident was the amount of caring and respect for these beautiful birds. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission starts its section on sandhill cranes as follows: Sandhill cranes are cherished members of the Florida ecosystem. They stand almost 4 feet tall and their bugling or rattling calls are haunting and beautiful.
That helps explain the reverence of the people I saw involved in this incident. The sandhill cranes are legally protected but more importantly they are protected by citizen love and caring. Even the traffic that moved through was slow and careful. Everywhere you looked there was concern and caring.
Incredibly this entire incident actually told me more about the people who reside around Sanford, Florida than it did about the dangerously tame sandhill cranes.