Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Sports

October 13, 2013

MARTINO: Jasper-Pulaski FWA offers wildlife spectacle

Sandhill cranes use marsh areas as rest stop on trip south.

Many do not realize that each fall, one of our greatest wildlife spectacles happens right here in Indiana. It takes place at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, located near the small town of Medaryville, about an hour’s drive northwest of Kokomo.

As the air turns brisk and leaves begin morphing into their brilliant hues of red, orange and yellow, thousands of sandhill cranes begin congregating on J-P’s shallow marsh areas on their journey south. These Hoosier wetlands are one of the largest resting places in the United States for these huge clattering birds. Cranes are birds of open grasslands, meadows and wetlands, and the sky literally swarms with them on their return to Hoosier soil.

“The birds are coming from Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada,” said J-P property manager, Jim Bergens. “We have the perfect habitat and often times migrating cranes may spend several weeks here, which is why we build such huge numbers.”

“We never knew about it until we read it in one of your columns,” said Kokomo’s Mary Strand, who now makes several trips annually with her husband, Paul, to J-P.

“It’s such a short, beautiful drive and to see this take place in Indiana is amazing,” Paul added.

Standing nearly 4 feet tall on slender legs, these birds sport a red forehead, white cheeks and long dark pointed bill. Their wingspans push 7 feet, making them one of the largest bird species.

The first big push usually takes place in October. These early arrivals are harbingers of even higher numbers which usually peak by mid-November. During their fall migration, some 13,000 to 16,000 birds make Indiana their short term home. The highest population estimate of 32,000 cranes occurred during the 1991 migratory season. Currently, more than 3,000 birds gather at the fish and wildlife area daily, but that number is expected to grow.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • SPL - KT042314 - Prep roundup - pic Prep roundup for Wednesday, April 23 Northwestern's track and field teams swept visiting Tri-Central on Tuesday night.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042414 - Brett Bowman column - Brett's column sig BOWMAN: Cottle has high hopes for new campaign In an era that sees superstar athletes at any sport walk around and boast how great they are, it's refreshing to see the likes of Shane Cottle. He is an open wheel racing standout who never blows his own horn and is embarrassed by the attention he receives for being considered one of the top sprint car drivers in the country.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042214 - Prep roundup - pic Prep roundup for Tuesday, April 22 Eastern's girls tennis team beat Northfield 4-1 Monday at Greentown for its second straight win following a season-opening loss to Peru last week.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042214 - B1 briefs - mug Sports briefs for Tuesday, April 22 The Mid-American Conference on Monday named former Kokomo Wildkat standout T.J. Weir its West Division Pitcher of the Week.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042114 - Athlete of the week - mug Simmerman is Athlete of the Week Simmerman helped the Comets go 3-0 last week.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042014 KT Prep Roundup - pic Prep Roundup for Sunday, April 20 Eastern's softball squad built a 5-0 lead through six innings, only to have Taylor rally for four runs before the Class 2A No. 9-ranked Comets were able to close the door for a 5-4 win Saturday in a non-conference game at Taylor. Maddie Vint put East

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042014 Ortmann-mug Ortmann headed to Taylor When Northwestern senior Graham Ortmann learned last month that he'd been named a recipient of the Lilly Endowment, that was a major weight off his shoulders. The endowment, working with the Community Foundation of Howard County, awards full tuition

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports briefs for Sunday, April 20 Maupin set to play hoops at Hanover WALTON -- Lewis Cass senior point guard Maci Maupin will continue her basketball career at Hanover College. She will play for Hanover coach Molly Jones, who just completed her 15th year at the Division III school l

    April 20, 2014

  • SPL - KT042014 - John Martino column - Martino column sig MARTINO: You may have company in woods Daylight has lengthened and cold winds have finally given way to warm, gentle breezes, for the most part, anyway. This is the special time of year when many of us enjoy being outdoors, a welcome escape from the four walls that almost held us hostage

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • NWHS tennis 04 Prep Roundup for Saturday, April 19 Northwestern's girls tennis team got a sweep from its doubles tandems and a point from the No. 1 singles player to edge Northfield 3-2 Friday on the Northwestern courts, improving to 2-1 on the season. Emily Harshman won 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 singles, Me

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo