Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

On my way to town the other day, I came across these 2 Sandhill Cranes feeding on the green grass at the VERMILION RIVER GREENS golf course in Buyck. I like to think that maybe Crane Lake was named after these beautiful birds. But as history would have it, Crane Lake may have been named for the Great Blue Heron rookery that existed in the vicinity. In the past people have mistakenly called Herons, Cranes. The way to tell the difference between these two birds is that Herons tuck their neck into a S curve while flying, whereas Cranes will fly with their neck fully extended.

Sandhill Cranes are huge birds with a wingspan of 80 inches (that’s close to 7 feet!) and they migrate in a V formation like geese. Their call is unmistakeable and the rolling resonant call can carry for miles.

Sandhill Crane

Notice the putting green behind this bird – must have been some good grass for eats! This Sandhill Crane is quite stained with a rust color on it’s gray plumage. I understand this is caused by something in their diet. These two birds appeared to be an adult and a juvenile.  

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