Photo: Jan Johansson


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The arrival of the cranes in spring is the sign of spring many people are waiting for, but not always quite certain, as the first crane may appear already at the end of February. It feels a little nearer spring at the end of March when there might be thousand cranes at Vadboden, a show worth visiting. The crane is our tallest bird, keen on dancing and loud, so it is not difficult to understand that is has become the favourite bird of many people. The big accumulation at Lake Hornborga is of a more recent date, and there are especially two factors that have contributed. First the growing of potatoes for distillation of spirits at the big estates of Dagsnäs and Bjurum, which gave the cranes great opportunities in spring to find waste potatoes in large areas after the autumn crop. Secondly the reduction of the water level of the lake in 1902 and again in the 1930´ies created areas suitable to spend the night in. When distillation of spirits and growing of potatoes ceased, first at Dagsnäs and then at Bjurum after 1971, the possibilities for the cranes to find food decreased, and the number of cranes halved at the end of the 70´ies.
To turn the downward trend potatoes were grown just for the cranes, and the crop was left in the fields. As experiments different kinds of cereals were spread and heaps of potatoes were dumped. All of it was done on a few hectares. When there was a distillery here there were more than 1000 hectares of cultivable soil for potatoes only at Dagnäs-Bjurum. The whole thing showed in a clear way how the attractiveness of the area for the cranes was due to the need off the distilleries for big areas suitable for potatoe-growing. Nowadays the cranes can be supported in a less drastic way by putting a coin as a parking fee at "Rastplats Trandansen". The money will be used for spreading grain. Barley is preferred by the cranes, and it is also easy to spread. Every or every other night, when the cranes are at their nightly resting place, barley is spread, about 30-40 tons during the months the cranes stay

Text (+sound): Jan Johansson
Translation to English: Gunvor and Curt Lindholm.


Click here for information about the area
at Lake Hornborga where the cranes rest.

Photo: Jan Johansson  


Cranes are to be found in winter in Extremadura in the Central Western parts of Spain.
The crane is monogamous (lives life-long with the same partner) and it is ready for breeding at the age of 3.
A crane lays 1-2 eggs.
At full height a crane is about 120 cm tall, 4-7 kg heavy and may have a wing-span of 250 cm.
At the breeding places the food generally consists of frogs, insects, fry and vegetables.
The acorn of a certain kind of oak is the most important winter food in Extremadura.
Probable maximum age is 25-30 years.