Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1992


Published in Great Plains Research 2:1 (February 1992), pp. 134-136. Copyright © 1992 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Used by permission.


A well-known author among wildlife enthusiasts, Paul Johnsgard has dedicated much of his life to the study of birds. In his lyrically written Crane Music, Johnsgard thoroughly compares and contrasts the natural history of the world's cranes with special emphasis on the two North American species, the sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) and the whooping crane (Grus americana).

This book begins with an interesting historical overview of the importance of cranes to human cultures around the world. Through the years, these exquisite long-legged birds have influenced religion, mythology, derivation of words, and important conservation efforts. Johnsgard understands and appreciates this influence as he points out the inseparable interrelationships among cranes, their natural habitats, and humanity.