Virtual Learning Center

Some amazing photos of Sandhill Cranes from our friend Terry Shaw

Sandhill Crane feeding dragonfly to colts
This juvenile was spotted in Madison, CT in October of 2019.

Vocabulary

  • Precocial – a bird or animal, hatched or born in an advanced state and able to feed itself almost immediately, like Sandhill Cranes.
  • Omnivorous – feeds on both plant and animal.
  • Clutch – (in birds) the total number of eggs laid in one nesting attempt.
  • Migratory– (birds) moving from one region to another for breeding and wintering.
  • Monomorphic – (of an animal species) having sexes that are similar in size and appearance.

Fun Facts

  • There is little distinction between male and female Sandhill Cranes, alhtough males tend to be a bit larger.
  • There are regional differences in Sandhill Cranes. The “lesser” Sandhill Crane breeds in the Arctic and are the smallest. The largest type breeds in the northern U.S. and the non-migratory Florida cranes are a medium size. They are similar in size to a Great Blue Heron, but bulkier.
  • Sandhill Cranes are known for their elegant mating dance, stretching their wings, pumping their heads and dancing around. Mates are chosen based on the dance. They mate for life.
  • Sandhill Cranes nest on the ground in moist habitat like marshes, bogs and meadows. The nests can be more than 3 feet wide with 1-3 eggs.
  • Sandhill Crane chicks (also called colts) are able to get up and leave the nest within hours of being born. Juvenile cranes stay with their parents for 9-10 months after hatching.
  • .Sandhill Cranes live in marshes and have a varied menu which includes grains, insects, berries, snails and reptiles.

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