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WHEN THE SANDHILL CRANE GOES WALKING

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,917
56
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#1
This morning, while taking a letter to the mailbox, i hear a few sandhill cranes overhead. A unique bird, the sandhills. When I was growing up around here, about 10 miles east of Lansing MI, there were no deer, coyotes, turkeys, eagles, or sandhill cranes. There were quail - the ones whose call is "Bob White!" - , ring necked pheasants, kill deer, and a bear or two. Now, the situation is reversed. Rabbits are still here, of course, but their numbers are thinner with coyotes around. I dearly miss the ringmecks, bob whites, and killdeer.

And then, there are those sandhill cranes. Robert Frost found them interesting. I find them to be dumb. Oh, they look regal when standing still. But then, so does an oak tree. As you watch them move around, you quickly notice that their movements aren't bright, quickly moving in curiosity, alert.. They appear more like they are on drugs, or drunk. They don't stumble, but neither do they move quickly like, say a blue jay or a crow. They . . . just . . . slowly . . . amble . . . along. Evidently, their instincts are enough to get by on, because it surely isn't intelligence.
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,803
31
75
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#2
I have to disagree with the " Isn't Intelligent " you mentioned.
Nothing can be around for 10 million years by being dumb. Plus if you are around for that long there has to be a good reason for you to get in a hurry.
A while back they found a 10 million year old crane fossil in Nebraska. . Which makes sense since there name comes from Nebraska's Sandhills near the Platt River. Nebraska is know for it's large flocks of the Sand Hill Cranes

I find them quite interesting and fun to watch. I have a mated pair and an almost adult chick that shows up here at the house about mid morning. The male is the largest so he is Big Bird , the female is slightly smaller so she is The Misses and naturally Junior who is almost as big as his mom.
I think it's interesting they are one of the birds which mates for life , along with Geese and Bald Eagles to name a few.

I get whole kernel corn at the feed store and there is always some out front for them. I have watched Junior grow up from when they had their nest down by the lake a couple blocks from here. Now when they will fly over here they will make a turn and glide in , finishing up with that slow walk they have. If they see the wife or myself they will high step it. They know breakfast is there for them.

After eating some of the corn they will prob around for worms and bugs then move off or take to the wing for greener pastures or ponds. Makes the Squirrels happy when some corn is left over.

So far this year the highest count on cranes has been 7 but last year I guess the word spread before they left to have their chicks , we had 12

The last canoe trip threw the Okefenokee Swamp there were some flocks of the Sandhllls that must of been a hundred or more when they flew over us. In the still of the mornings or the evenings you couldn't help but hear them , that made the swamp fell even wilder.