Every year several flocks of cranes (in Swedish “tranor”) gather at Hornborgarsjön, an inland lake in the west of Sweden that is considered to be one of Sweden’s best bird lakes. The first flocks usually arrive in the middle of March, but their exact arrival depends on how far a long spring has come. It is then typical to see thousands of cranes gathering by the lake until the end of April, when it is time for them to fly further north to their nesting areas.
The high season for spotting cranes is mid-April, where the extraordinary record so far is 26 500 cranes that gathered in an area by the lakes’ southern point called Trandansen, literally translated as “the crane dance”, the third of April 2012. Trandansen is undoubtedly the best place for crane watching, where you also can grab a bite to eat and pick up some unique souvenirs between the spotting of the birds. Also, for the bird enthusiast it is worth to point out that there are several interesting breeds to be seen at Hornborgarsjön, namely everything from geese to whooper swans.
The cranes enter Trandansen at sunrise to then spend all day eating and dancing on the fields. At sunset they take off to their shallow water beds in the lake, where they are protected from predators.
Crane couples often spend their whole bird lives together, and their special crane dance helps strengthen the relationship. During their dance the cranes will usually take giant leaps into the open air, bow and then circulate around each other. The cranes don’t have a specific time of day for dancing, but dancing is guaranteed for anyone who wants to watch.
A new tradition, since a couple of years back, is that the crane season is kicked off at Trandansen with a special opening ceremony. This year’s opening ceremony will take place the 23rd of March with speeches, useful crane guides and fun open-air-quizzes. An extra treat this year, is the Swedish musician Adam Grauman’s interpretation of the cranes spring songs on contrabass, or “crane jazz” if you will. During specific dates[i] , there will also be bird experts from proficient Swedish bird clubs to answer all your questions concerning the bird life by Hornborgasjön.
We can report that the very first crane has been spotted! So be sure to bring your camera and we’ll see you there!
[i] During the weekends 23-24/3, 29/3-1/4, 6-7/4, 13-14/4, the bird experts from the bird clubs Falbygden and Skövde will be on location to answer all your questions between 11 am and 5 pm.