Please feel free to comment, correct me if I am wrong, or provide helpful tips of any kind

Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

May 21, 2010

Sandhill Cranes

It was the most amazing event, stretching out for roughly two weeks, when my attention was drawn by large numbers of birds flying overhead.  Their vocalizations were deep, and carrying, somewhat reminiscent of Ravens but somehow much deeper as they flew above me.   However these birds were much slimmer and bigger, their wings spanning to at least six feet.   At first I only managed to get pictures of them very far off in the distance, but because weather conditions were windy and cloudy, and I only had my small camera, the pictures were unclear.

Sandhill Cranes in V formation

These birds were neatly riding the air currents, and at times it seemed as though I was getting a 3 D view of a violently fast paced aerial dance.  It was quite astonishing really, how efficiently these birds went with the flow of air.  At one point all I could do was stand there and watch the intricacy of their dance with the wind with absolute amazement and delight. I truly wish the pictures I have of them riding  the wind had turned out better, as it would provide you with an excellent idea of their ability to literally go with the flow.  One minute they would be flying in a perfect V and the next they would change direction en-mass as the air currents changed.

These, by the way, had to be the very birds that I was referring to observing once before in "Aerial Dance: A challenge", an earlier post of mine.  Only at that time there were only six or seven of the birds and a different member of  the species entirely, as they were a very light gray or white color.  Naturally when I realized this my delight in seeing these birds quite simply doubled, because one mystery in my life has finally been cleared up.

Sandhill Cranes as they hit an air current

My attempt to video tape their flight failed miserably, the one time that I tried it, which was truly frustrating, but hopefully I will manage it during the next migration period.  In any event, I eventually got some fairly decent shots of these birds when they finally flew closer above me and they turned out to be Cranes, Sandhill Cranes to be specific. As usual I took lots of pictures because without a tripod its difficult to get clear shots with your head tilted back to look up at the sky directly above, and because of course I was determined to identify these birds.

Migratory Cranes
Sandhill Cranes a family group

Since the sight of and taking pictures of these Sandhill Cranes I have done some research and have learned they are the most common of the Crane species.   They have a red forehead, and even though their feathers are typically gray, they appear to be brown since they like to cover themselves with mud and they do forage in marches and bogs.  They have a long straight, blade like beak and carry their necks straight out in flight.  Their actual wing span  ranges between six to eight feet.   As I said they ride the thermals quite efficiently and can stay aloft for hours.  They typically range  throughout North America,  Mexico, Cuba as well as North Eastern Siberia.  They are opportunistic eaters and will eat grains, mice, insects, snakes and worms  just to name a few.  Their conservation status is not threatened.    If you wish to learn more about this particular species of bird just follow these links:


A couple of these websites give you samples of the voice of this magnificent bird.  Enjoy!!!
Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment