The intoxicating terror of a future Cranes Big Year

What is it about a project that terrifies as much as it inspires? Over the last two and a quarter years of Big Years, I’ve kept coming back to this quixotic project, to go see (and write about, with photos) all fifteen crane species around the world. We’re talking each continent. We’re talking some seriously remote places. We’re talking mucho dollars, a heap of organization. All of this with only the fuzziest notion of eventual output.

Right now the biggest problem with this possible Big Year, and a couple of the others, is the time impost. While I have a book to write, shouldn’t I write? Shouldn’t I resist vague detours?

So . . . in Europe, when I can, I’ll sink into this sumptuous book: Paul A. Johnsgard’s “A Chorus of Cranes: The Cranes of North America and the World”  (

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