I love living in Sauk Rapids. It's that perfect middle place between the amenities of St. Cloud, but the small town country feel of rural Minnesota. We have a great neighborhood, and love it all, except for this new pack of unwanted birds.

The past month I've been dealing with a gang of Sandhill Cranes. The technical group name of the bird would be a flock, but the trouble this group gives me deserves a harsher name.

This group of three or four have found their way into my path way too often lately. Every morning on my way home from the gym they decide to cross the road and take their sweet time doing it. These cranes have no sense of urgency. Walking with purpose? They've never heard of it.

There is a park area in a nearby neighborhood, and when I take my dog Norman for a morning walk, those cranes yell at me like I don't belong there.

The MN DNR writes:

The sandhill crane is distinctive in all respects. Its flight is graceful, it stands erect when feeding in a field or marsh, and it's echoing call is unforgettable.

Unforgettable alright. And extremely unwelcoming.

The sandhill crane, or "sandhill," is among Minnesota's largest bird species, standing about five feet tall and having a wingspread of nearly seven feet. Sandhills are birds of wet meadows and open landscapes. They migrate south for the winter.

Sauk Rapids has no shortage of wet meadows and open landscapes. Looks like I'm stuck with these neighbors. We will just have to try to live in harmony until migration season gets here.

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