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Dancing Cranes

Several fields at the southern end of Lake Hornborga have become a place where humans and cranes celebrate the arrival of spring to the cacophony of some 20,000 bills performing a natural score during a month of eating, flirting and dancing.

The first time you witness cranes “dancing” you may think it is an organised event, but the ballet is highly disorganised and spontaneous. One makes a little pirouette, jumps a metre up in the air, spreads its wings, picks up a twig, throws it and extends its neck in preparation of a magnificent fanfare. Sometimes the dance proliferates throughout the flock like a wave. The show is most impressive at dawn and dusk. At mid-day, the cranes tend to focus on feeding, but every now and then they take a few dance steps. While busy picking seeds from the ground, a couple may stop in front of one another, extend their necks and call out for the sky to hear that they belong together and that they will spend yet another summer in each other’s company. Cranes may have been coming here to pause since the last ice sheet receded on the shores of Lake Hornborga, where the water is shallow and warm in spring. When the Dagsnäs estate began to throw out left over potato scraps from their aquavit production on the surrounding fields, the site became even more popular among the cranes. These days, the County Administrative Board distributes grain to these visitors that have flown in from as far away as Spain and North Africa.

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