In an unexpected and largely symbolic move, the Metro Davidson Council unanimously approved a motion this week to designate the Crane as the official bird of Nashville.
“It’s really an obvious pairing. When you think of Nashville these days, you can’t help but think of cranes” explained Lorraine Belvedere, a Metro Councilman-at-Large who lives in SoBro and was the initial sponsor of the motion. “They’re everywhere you look. No matter which direction you’re facing, if you’re downtown and look up to the sky, you’re bound to see at least one or two cranes soaring high above you. They’ve become an integral part of our identity, inseparable from our skyline in much the same way as the Batman Building or the Tennessee Tower.”
While the State of Tennessee recognizes both the Mockingbird and the Bobwhite Quail as official state birds, no bird has previously been designated as an official symbol of the City of Nashville. Councilwoman Belvedere’s motion enumerated a number of reasons for singling out the Crane for this symbolic distinction, including that “Cranes are opportunistic feeders” and that “[they] are known for constructing platform nests”. The timeliness of this designation, explains Belvedere, comes from the fact that Nashville’s crane population is currently at an all-time high.
“For generations, you hardly ever saw any cranes in Nashville, and when you did, they were always small, sickly little things that just seemed out of place. But now, that’s all changed. Today, cranes are flocking here from all over the country in record numbers, and you can see proud, majestic specimens all around you with their tall, powerful necks stretching upward to the sky. With so many of them dominating our town, why not designate them officially as the recognizable symbol of Nashville that they’ve already become?”
However, not everyone shares the Metro Council’s enthusiasm for the growing crane presence in Nashville. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency spokesperson Charles Parsons noted in an interview with The Rhinestone that “Cranes may be a necessary part of the local ecosystem, but we should be wary of overpopulation, which is what we are now facing in Nashville. Too many cranes gathered in one area are not only unsightly, but can be problematic for property owners. Older houses and buildings are frequently targeted by cranes as a place to begin building their new homes, and most such properties will usually end up being quickly destroyed unless you are able to scare the cranes away with loud noises or a historic overlay district.”
Nashville skyline photo found at http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/wpln/files/201506/cranes_skyline.jpg. Crane photos found at https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/08/Sandhill_bare_areas.jpg, https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/PHOTO/LARGE/WhoopingCrane-Vyn_090420_0144.jpg, http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/wildlifemgmt/species/sandhill2.jpg, http://www.petsfoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/African-Crowned-Crane-bird2.jpg, and http://www.ladakhcamp.com/images/home/home_large_img04.jpg.