The groundhog tells us in America when spring can be expected (not always to be trusted!), but Swedes wait for the first crane to arrive at Lake Hornborga. And the first crane has now arrived—spring is soon to come.

The Cranes (Grus grus) returning from their winter migration, stop at the same stop every year at the Lake Hornborga outside the town of Skara in southern Sweden. Some 10,000 of the four foot tall, 15 pound birds will later land at Lake Hornborga and begin trumpeting, dancing and mating while close to 150,000 bird watchers watch.

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The Common Crane is also known as the Eurasian Crane. It is about 40-52 inches long with a 71-96 inch wingspan and a weight of 10-15 lbs. The Common Crane is grey with a white facial streak and a bunch of black wing plumes. Adults have a red crown patch. It has a loud trumpeting call, given in flight and display. During its mating dance, it leaps with wings uplifted. The crane breeds in wetlands in northern parts of Europe and Asia, the global population is in the region of 210,000-250,000, with the vast majority nesting in Russia and Scandinavia.
More info on Hornborgasjön: http://www5.o.lst.se/projekt/hornborga/eng/index.asp