My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Sandhill crane

Another of my favorite birds based almost as much on their call as their appearance. Much as the call of the loon has come to symbolize unspoiled wilderness, to me, the warbled croaking of sandhill cranes has come to symbolize the increasing populations of many birds that were once threatened with extinction.

Sandhill cranes are one of the tallest, if not the tallest bird of North America, they are even larger than great blue herons.

Heres a blurb from Wikipedia:

This crane frequently gives a loud trumpeting call that suggests a French-style “r” rolled in the throat, and they can be heard from a long distance. Mated pairs of cranes engage in “unison calling.” The cranes stand close together, calling in a synchronized and complex duet. The female makes two calls for every single call of the male.

The sandhill crane’s large wingspan, typically 1.65 to 2.1 m (5.4 to 6.9 ft), makes this a very skilled soaring bird similar in style to hawks and eagles. Utilizing thermals to obtain lift, they can stay aloft for many hours, requiring only occasional flapping of their wings and consequently expending little energy. With migratory flocks containing hundreds of birds, they can create clear outlines of the normally invisible rising columns of air (thermals) that they ride.

Watching large flocks of cranes form up as they prepare to migrate is truly a thing of beauty, they are such graceful birds! I would like to say that I have photos of their mating “dance”, but so far, that has eluded me. So, here are a few photos of them that I do have.

Sandhill cranes

Sandhill cranes

Sandhill crane in flight

Sandhill crane in flight

Sandhill crane in flight

Sandhill crane in flight

Sandhill crane in flight

Sandhill crane in flight

Sandhill cranes in flight

Sandhill cranes in flight

Sandhill cranes in flight

Sandhill cranes in flight

Female sandhill crane

Female sandhill crane

Male sandhill crane

Male sandhill crane

Sandhill cranes

Sandhill cranes

Sandhill cranes

Sandhill cranes

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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9 responses

  1. Great Shots! Thanks for sharing

    January 20, 2013 at 8:55 am

    • Well, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      January 20, 2013 at 9:15 am

  2. Northern Narratives

    Love that last photo !!!

    January 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    • Thank you!

      January 20, 2013 at 6:57 pm

  3. My you did fulfill your promise of posting your bird photos. one per page. That’s a lot of work ! But I know you’ll love having them to enjoy for all time. Also the in depth information you are providing really helps us budding birders. Thank you!

    January 20, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    • Thanks, but I wouldn’t say that the promise has been fulfilled yet, I have a very loooong way to go! I have a couple more ready to post, but I still have 340 to do yet! I wasn’t sure how much information to include, and it will vary widely with each species, depending on how much I know about it, and how much it interests me.

      January 20, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      • My goodness ! 340 bird species you’ve seen ??? I’m so way behind at a measly 80. Sigh….I wonder how much traveling I’ll have to do.
        Were all of them in nature?

        January 20, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      • Well, the number I am using is from a list of species seen in Michigan put out by the Audubon Society. But, going through the list, I have seen most of them, and I have photos of just over 100 right now. If you were to throw in species I’ve seen on trips to the Canadian Rockies, Yellowstone, Texas, Florida, etc., I think that my life list would top 350.

        January 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm

  4. I’m envious! I love the way the wings appear to overlap in the last photo. Lucky you to see them, and to hear them. I’ve only seen them once, as I was driving down a rural road in west central FL (on vacation in Jan. a few years ago). I was shocked & thrilled to see a pair near a shallow pond on someone’s property. I hope to get down to a refuge where they congregate in WA one of these days.

    February 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm