Peaceful Sandhill Cranes at Peaceful Waters

A Sandhill Crane is literally what I call a ‘pretty, tall bird’. . . . .IMG_3867There is something about standing right next to this statuesque beauty – I could really feel its nearly 4 feet in height. And its beautiful face was so photogenic.IMG_3895Though I’ve written about Sandhill Cranes before, I couldn’t resist adding photos from this weekend.IMG_3864Sandhill Cranes are monogamous and mate for life, usually laying one brood of two eggs per year. Their survival rate is good, according to David Sibley, and Sandhill Cranes have been known to live to at least 23 years of age in the wild (Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior, p. 254).IMG_3904Apparently, these large birds have been around for quite awhile (Audubon)!  Here are some rather incredible ‘Fun Facts’ about Sandhill Cranes:

The earliest Sandhill Crane fossil, estimated to be 2.5 million years old, was unearthed in the Macasphalt Shell Pit in Florida. (All About Birds). 

Even more remarkable:  A fossil from the Miocene Epoch, some ten million years ago, was found to be structurally the same as the modern sandhill crane. (National Geographic)IMG_3930As we strolled by and photographed them, this pair calmly went about their business foraging in the shallow edge of the muddy pond and pecking at the grass.IMG_3866 They are omnivores and will eat clams, lizards, fish, frogs, snakes, and other small aquatic invertebrates, but also feed on insects, grains, seeds tubers, and berries.IMG_3893Well-known for their courtship dances (Arkive.org), I hope to photograph these elegant birds again next spring – who knows, maybe I can capture my own dance video!

 

41 thoughts on “Peaceful Sandhill Cranes at Peaceful Waters

  1. Beautiful shots of these beautiful birds. I love their unearthly croak when they fly over. I have seen them flocking up in the fields the past two days, something they do before migration. Pretty darn early for that! Kind of scary.

      • Wisconsin. I remember one time in late fall, seeing a field of at least 5-600 cranes feeding on leftovers in a farm field and the next day they were gone.
        I know Arizona (where we winter) has become the winter home for them. In Wilcox, AZ. We are in Tucson and made a special trip to see them. You can only imagine the croaking noises they all made.
        I have painted them a couple of times. And now I feel a need to do another painting. 😊
        Nature is just so interesting.

    • I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the Cranes, Tiny. I learn so much about birds and nature from writing posts, and reading others’ blogs – including stories of their personal travels, like yours!
      You are one very busy, productive and creative person!

      • Thank you for your kind words, BJ. It is wonderful to learn about birds, and your blog is one that always teaches me more!

      • I sometimes forget what I’ve said in a previous blog post about a particular bird. But there is always so much more to learn every time – and it is always fun to investigate a little deeper.

  2. Beautiful birds, and great job capturing them! I’ve never seen Sandhill Cranes except in images. It’s one of many birds I’d love to view and photograph. Reminds me of images and videos I’ve seen of the Red-crowned Cranes in Japan. Granted, it would be a longer trip to go see those! Thanks for the great post, love the info about the cranes.

    • Thanks very much for your wonderful comments – I’m so glad you enjoyed the Sandhill Cranes. I agree you with you about the similarity with the red crowned cranes. . . . it’s fascinating to learn more about how many kinds of cranes there are!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s