Friday, January 7, 2011

Creature Feature - Sandhill crane

Florida Sandhill cranes like wide open spaces for grazing and performing their elaborate courtship dance.  My property is too densely planted for their liking, but just over the fence in my neighbor's clear-cut acres of grass, they make a daily appearance.
These are big birds, standing four foot tall at rest, with a wingspan of  6-8 feet.  Florida's Sandhill cranes are a threatened species that do not adapt well to changing environments or high human populations.  They are non-migratory and their population is only about 4,000 individuals.  Every winter they are joined by about 25,000 migratory Greater Sandhill cranes.
Sandhill cranes can live up to 20 years, and they remain with the same mate for several years.  They are omnivores and will eat a wide variety of plant and animal matter.
Hear the call of the Sandhill crane here.
Further reading:
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Southwest Florida Water Management District

The First Friday Creature Feature is hosted right here on the first Friday of every month.  You're invited to join in!  Here's how:
1. Write a post featuring some creature that lives in your garden.
2. Within your post, include a link to my Creature Feature post so people know where to find the creatures.
3. Add your link below and leave a comment.
Thanks for participating and feel free to join in again next month!


Susan said...

I love seeing these birds in open areas, and have been lucky enough to experience their courtship dance...quite interesting. Usually I see 2 to 4 birds together, but have noticed larger groups lately. Where do the other birds migrate from?

Grower Jim said...

Most of the migratory cranes summer in the Great Lakes region.

Orchid de dangau said...

I love seeing this bird, there are so beautiful...never seen them 'dance'...maybe should find in the you tube. I also have some poultry in my garden, but put in the cage. The most I like, in my garden is Mandarin duck. Thanks for sharing!

compost in my shoe said...

Cool birds. Would they bother the Koi in a pond?

Grower Jim said...

compost in my shoe: Fish don't seem to be a large part of their diet. They primarily eat insects, worms, grains, and plant tubers. They usually feed in fields or sometimes shallow wetlands.

Char's Gardening said...

We don't have these cranes in north florida, or at least I've never seen them. I like your FFCF idea, this should be fun.

SiestaSister said...

We see them almost daily...can be very noisy, but are beautiful.


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