My husband, Michael, is a craniac –– a person who is fascinated, maybe even obsessive, about the tall wetland birds called cranes.  Michael is not alone.  There are thousands of craniacs in the world, watching in awe as these birds dance, take flight and sing.

Craniacs count the number of birds they spot, photograph them and observe them.  Some like my husband, a former biologist, have a scientific bent.   He likes to record the time, date and whereabouts of the cranes he spots.  He keeps lists.  His binoculars look so familiar slung around his neck that they often seem part of his body.

‘Crania’ is contagious.  I caught the bug shortly after I met Michael, falling in love twice, once with him, and a second time with the birds he loves.

An admission is due here.  I no longer get up at five o’clock in the morning to take part in the twice-yearly crane count.  That was early on in our relationship when I was trying to impress Michael.  To be honest, I’m not a good birder.  To bird well, you have to be patient.  You have to be able to keep those binoculars fixed to your face for a very long time, even when you’re soaked in the rain and your feet are freezing.  I’m too hyper to stand for very long in one spot, yet witnessing the cranes dance was a magical moment for me.  I can’t fully explain what these birds stirred in me, but I know I’m not alone in my fascination.

Recently, I discovered a website called Operation Migration, a website dedicated to re-introducing a migratory flock of Whooping Cranes to eastern North America.

I was so happy to find kids across Canada and the United States who care enough about cranes to take action to help save Whooping cranes from extinction.  That completely made my day.