Having been on a Cather-sandhill Cranes trip on Friday, I think I can say with authority that Ivar in O Pioneers is describing migrating cranes when he talks about his pond and specifically mentions cranes. A Rowe Sanctuary guide who heard that description read aloud said it was definitely on point for crane behavior, and sandhill cranes were the obvious species.
A question from a friend: “Did Cather ever write about Sand Hill Cranes”? I can think of ducks, but not cranes.
Do tell. Thanks.
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Charles A. Dana Professor of Canadian Studies and English Emeritus
St. Lawrence University
Canton, New York 13617