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July 7, 2015

Sandhill Cranes at Pick property

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David Lex, our resident at the Pick property, has set up a motion-sensitive camera to capture wildlife activity at the Pick Nature Preserve.  These photos, showing adult sandhill cranes with two colts, were taken on July 7.

The International Crane Foundation cites these facts about habitat and ecology:

“Sandhill Cranes are primarily birds of open fresh water wetlands, but the different subspecies utilize habitats that range from bogs, sedge meadows, and fens to open grasslands, pine savannas, and cultivated lands. Sandhill Cranes occur at their highest breeding density in habitats that contain open sedge meadows in wetlands that are adjacent to short vegetation in uplands.

Mated pairs of cranes, including Sandhill Cranes, engage in unison calling, which is a complex and extended series of coordinated calls. While calling, cranes stand in an upright posture, usually with their heads thrown back and beaks skyward during the display. In Sandhill Cranes the female initiates the display and utters two, higher-pitched calls for each male call. While calling, the female raises her beak about 45 degrees above the horizontal while the male raises his bill to a vertical position. All cranes engage in dancing, which includes various behaviors such as bowing, jumping, running, stick or grass tossing, as well as wing flapping. Though it is commonly associated with courtship, dancing can occur at any age and season. Dancing is generally believed to be a normal part of motor development for cranes and thwarts aggression, relieves tension, and strengthens the pair bond.”

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Perhaps you’ve heard these cranes calling in past months.  We’re glad they’ve chosen this neighborhood to raise their new family!