Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sandhill Crane Flyway

For at least a week, flocks of Sandhill Cranes, Grus canadensis, have been flying over Adams County on their way south for the winter. Cranes are North America's tallest bird. Sandhill cranes stand 3-5 feet tall. There are currently six recognized sub-species of Sandhill Crane. Sandhill cranes are grey with red foreheads, but adult birds often preen mud into their feathers, giving them an orangish-brown look. They probably do this to camouflage themselves while sitting on nests, which are located on the ground. Cranes fly in a "V" pattern, similar to Canada Geese. To distinguish between the two, look for the tell-tale long legs of the cranes. Image by J. Schmidt - NPS Photo.