Sandhill Cranes – Predator’s Choice

It’s getting cold up in Saskatchewan, Canada. The sandhill cranes are on the move, by the hundreds, most likely by the thousands. I saw several huge flocks of them fly south over Montana yesterday, probably on their way to New Mexico, one of several places where they may overwinter.

dscn7081Sandhill cranes, when they’re not migrating, spend most of their time on the ground, eating mostly vegetation, but Wiki says they also feed on berries, small mammals, insects, snails, reptiles, and amphibians.

They are in constant danger of being predated upon. Foxes, coyotes, bobcats, cougar, and lynx are only a few of their most obvious predators but they are also in danger from ravens, hawks, owls, and eagles. It’s tough being a sandhill crane.

In the spring when they do their mating dance, they are beautiful to watch. I was lucky enough to have seen this firsthand in the Queen Charlotte Islands but at the time I had no camera with me.
dscn7088Since it is hard to see what they look like, when you can only see them silhouetted against the sky, I borrowed a picture from Wikipedia to show their colours. They are large birds with a height of from 2 ft. 7 in. to 4 ft. If you want to know their wingspan, just spread your arms as far apart as you can and you’d be pretty close.sandhill-crane

I made a very short (6 seconds) video clip as they flew over me. It’s not great footage but if you turn up the sound you can hear the distinctive call of the sandhill cranes.

 

30 thoughts on “Sandhill Cranes – Predator’s Choice

  1. I’m always listening for that sound in the spring. I think by the time they leave in the fall the house is closed up. I do love to hear them flying over. Thanks for the video!

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  2. It’s always interesting reading your blog. Love your photos and “little known facts”. Great tidbits of information. Thanks for the video as well! 🙂

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    • I’m glad you’re finding some good tidbits, Sonja. I wish the video was better but it’s mainly for the sound of the birds and it was a good choice because it was really short. I love sandhill cranes. They’re such beautiful birds.

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  3. Some of them come to Texas, and for several years I’d find them hanging around the rice fields. They had left-over grain to eat, of course, but the rice fields also have plenty of amphibians, and crawfish. They are amazing — you’ve reminded me that one my way home I need to watch for them in the Texas Panhandle. It may not be too early to see them there after all. And the video is great!

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  4. I didn’t know of their being preyed upon. They would seem to be too big to kill but are so gentle, this is sad to learn, Anneli. Thanks for the short video, color picture and the actual in flight one, too. Hugs, Robin xo

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