Sandhill Cranes are very large non-migratory birds that “breed and forage in open prairies, grasslands, and wetlands” (All About Birds, Florida FWC). Monogamous breeders, they are known for their unique mating dances! (listen on Bird Note and watch this Bird Note video (especially after 45 sec. or so).
On a recent walk, I heard this small group’s distinctive “loud, rattling bugle calls” (All About Birds) from quite a distance away at Orlando Wetlands and soon caught sight of them strolling along together. After pausing to look down and take this shot below of their huge footprints in the sand, I suddenly felt something very close beside me . . .
I glanced to my right and realized they had turned around and these hefty, 4 foot-tall avian delights were now ambling along right next to me!
They sauntered right past me without a sound till they got further down the trail. As I watched them go, they began anew to honk their loud, raucous calls.
It’s always exciting to be so close to these wonderful creatures!
“Degradation or direct loss of habitat due to wetland drainage or conversion of prairie for development or agricultural use are the primary threats facing Florida sandhill cranes.” (Florida FWC). How wonderful that they are able to feel so comfortable in this 1650 acre constructed Orlando Wetlands.