Earth

It is Time to Go Home

The sandhill cranes are flying south from the Beaufort Sea, as they have for 125,000,000 years.

One family at a time. When the leader lags, the group is soon a ball, and another comes from one of the wings and draws them on again. Sometimes a strong bird will fly hundreds of metres ahead, trying to encourage everyone else. When the young ones tire and break up into smaller flocks (like this one), the leaders circle and wait until they can regroup. The regrouping can take 20 minutes, with everyone talking all at once. When they’ve lost the way, various birds try to find it, until someone gets it right, and on they go, 10 hours a day, sometimes at night, 25 miles an hour. More when they can catch the north wind. When the cold is coming fast, they fly on at night. They don’t do this alone, and they don’t do this by instinct.

And we are talking about what else, exactly?

Shame on us. 195,000 years.

We are such children.

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