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Polk County Coordinator Nan Riegel gets a preliminary count from volunteers at Cafe Wren following Saturday’s count. (Photo by Tom Lindfors)

Caring for cranes: Annual Sandhill Crane count a labor of love

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You may have seen them. Shadows in the early morning light. Sometimes in pairs, sometimes alone. Some sitting in cars pulled over on the side of the road, windows down, others donning rain gear along the side of a marsh, or skirting the edge of a field strewn with remnants from last year’s corn crop, binoculars to the eye scanning the dimly lit landscape for a shape out of place, a tall leggy grey phantom sporting a rusty red-feathered cap.

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