A rolling bugle call pierces the woolen autumn sky. Looking skyward, the source comes into view: a V-formation of soaring, long-necked sandhill cranes gliding among the clouds.
“That’s such a wonderful sound,” said Bob Fisher, as he peered through binoculars from high atop the treeless hill, a former landfill, at the Greene Valley Forest Preserve in Naperville.
The appearance of sandhill cranes is happening with increased frequency across northern Illinois, part of a widespread regional recovery.
Once nearly vanished from the Midwest, sandhill cranes have bounced back and returned by the thousands. The population is booming.
“It’s an incredible recovery. It’s one of the best Midwest bird stories,” said Rich Beilfuss, president and CEO of the International Crane Foundation. “They’re back in people’s lives in a way we really haven’t seen in a while.”
In the 1930s, only two dozen breeding pair of sandhill cranes lived in Wisconsin. The population in the upper Midwest …