Cranes


Cranes are tall long-legged birds found on all continents except South America and Antarctica.  There are 15 species of cranes with 2, whooping and sandhill, found in the United States.

Cranes


Sandhill Cranes

Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge

Alaska


Sandhill Cranes

Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge

Alaska



Sandhill Crane

Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge

Alaska


Whooping Cranes

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Texas


Whooping Crane

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Texas


Sandhill Cranes

Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge

Alaska


Whooping Crane

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Texas


Whooping Cranes

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Texas


The Tallest Flying Bird!!


The sarus crane is tallest of the flying birds, standing at a height of up to 5 feet 11 inches (1.8 meters) and is a non-migratory crane found in parts of the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia. Their favorite habitat is open wetlands in south Asia.


Sarus cranes have loud trumpeting calls. These calls are, as in other cranes, produced by the elongated trachea that form coils within the sternal region.  Pairs may indulge in spectacular displays of calling in unison and posturing.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarus_crane


Sarus cranes forage in shallow water (usually with less 1-foot depth of water) or in fields, frequently probing in mud with their long bills.  They are omnivorous, eating insects (especially grasshoppers), aquatic plants, fish, frogs, crustaceans and seeds.



A Vulnerable Species!


There were about an estimated 15–20,000 mature sarus cranes left in the wild in 2009. The Indian population is less than 10,000, but of the three subspecies, is the healthiest in terms of numbers. They are considered sacred and the birds are traditionally left unharmed, and in many areas they are unafraid of humans.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarus_crane


Whooping Cranes


Short Run into the Wind Needed for Flight!


Whooping cranes are the tallest bird native to North America and are anywhere from the third to the fifth heaviest species there, depending on which figures are used. The species can reportedly stand anywhere from 1.24 to 1.6 m (4 ft 1 in to 5 ft 3 in) in height. Wingspan, at least typically, is from 2 to 2.3 m (6 ft 7 in to 7 ft 7 in). Widely reported averages put males at a mean mass of 7.3 kg (16 lb), while females weigh 6.2 kg (14 lb) on average. 


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whooping_crane


Still Running!


Photographs were taken on April 19, 2019 in Burleigh County, North Dakota


Running Faster!


Almost There!


Take Off!


Mates for Life!


Whooping cranes live to be 22 to 24 years in the wild.  They become sexually mature between 4 and 7 years old.  They migrate from their nesting grounds in Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada in the Fall and winter in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas before returning in the Spring.



Back from the Brink!


After being pushed to the brink of extinction by unregulated hunting and loss of habitat to just 21 wild and two captive whooping cranes by 1941, conservation efforts have led to a limited recovery. The total number of cranes in the surviving migratory population, plus three reintroduced flocks and in captivity, now exceeds 800 birds.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whooping_crane


A Sight I will Probably Never See Again!


Perfect morning light, blue sky, the rare whooping crane and a south wind resulted in this whooping crane running towards me before taking off and flying.  I doubt that I will ever experience this again!



Sandhill Crane Adventures

In

Yellowstone National Park

May 30, 2019


"It sure is hard to climb on Mom's back!"


"Almost There!"


"Almost There!"


"Almost There!"


"Oh, That was too Tough.  I Think I will Sleep Next to Mom- I Can Hear Her Heartbeat- My Favorite Sound!"


Sandhill cranes raise one brood per year. In nonmigratory populations, laying begins between December and August. In migratory populations, laying usually begins in April or May. Both members of a breeding pair build the nest using plant material from the surrounding area. Nest sites are usually marshes, bogs, or swales, though occasionally on dry land. Females lay one to three (usually two) oval, dull brown eggs with reddish markings. Both parents incubate the eggs for about 30 days. The chicks are precocial; they hatch covered in down, with their eyes open, and able to leave the nest within a day. The parents brood the chicks for up to three weeks after hatching, feeding them intensively for the first few weeks, then gradually less frequently until they reach independence at 9 to 10 months old.  The chicks remain with their parents until one to two months before the parents lay the next clutch of eggs the following year, remaining with them 10–12 months. After leaving their parents, the chicks form nomadic flocks with other juveniles and nonbreeders. They remain in these flocks until they form breeding pairs at between two and seven years old.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandhill_crane


 May 31, 2019


Oops!  Baby on right fell down walking through mud holes.  Baby on left is being fed by Mom!


Sandhill Crane Family!


The Bison and the Cranes!

June 2, 2019



After finding the baby Sandhill Cranes on May 30, 2019 I was able to watch them for 4 days.  The Yellowstone National Park Staff stated that they had been born on May 29.  By the 3rd day, the babies were following their parents up the grassy slopes so their parents could feed them insects.  On the evening of June 2, the Crane family was returning to the slough where their nest was located.  Three large American Bison were also feeding near the slough and one Bison approaches where the Cranes were!


As the Bison got within a couple of yards of the babies, they hide in the slough grass and Sandhill Crane Mom walked to within a few feet of the Bison, calling loudly!



Sandhill cranes defend themselves and their young from aerial predators by jumping and kicking. Actively brooding adults are more likely to react aggressively to potential predators to defend their chicks than wintering birds, which most often normally try to evade attacks on foot or in flight. For land predators, they move forward, often hissing, with their wings open and bills pointed. If the predator persists, the crane stabs with its bill (which is powerful enough to pierce the skull of a small carnivore) and kicks.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandhill_crane


"Stay Away from My Babies"


The 9-pound Sandhill Crane Mom did not strike or kick at the Bison, loud calling and sudden flapping of wings was enough to startle the 2000-pound Bison.  



"Stay Away from My Babies"


This is the first time that I have seen a Bison jump away from another animal!  



"Stay Away from My Babies"


The 2000-pound Bison wanted nothing to do with an upset 9-pound Sandhill Crane Mom.  



"You Stay Away from My Babies and Don't Come Back"


The Bison did just that and Mom returned to her babies.  



The Bison was relieved that the whole situation was over.  


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