A small pond between Battle Creek and Bellevue in Calhoun County is a rest stop for thousands of cranes migrating south for the winter.

Big Marsh Lake is located on land owned by the Michigan Audubon and hosts an annual CraneFest during early October.

A Cranefest volunteer named Sam, who lives on a hay farm adjacent to the Cranefest grounds, told the crowd during the event that the cranes spend the summer secluded from humans in far northern Hudson Bay in Canada. Their winter migration often takes them south to Tennessee, and perhaps as far south at the Florida panhandle if Tennessee isn't warm enough.

During the birds' annual migration, thousands of them stop over at Big Marsh Lake, a man-made body of water formed by the damming of Ackley Creek, done half a century ago for the purpose of giving cranes a welcome rest stop.

The 2016 Cranefest was held October 8-9.

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