Sandhill Crane Behaviors - no BIF here ....

Joined
Jan 26, 2005
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Marysville, WA
Of COURSE we all want great BIF, nice backgrounds, wings up, wings down, feather detail, yada-yada-yada, but we often forget how interesting behavior can be as the birds interact with each other.

I tried looking for more information on this first behavior, all I could find was that the birds often do this just prior to taking off or when others are flying over. Neither was true in this case, I think it was just Karaoke Time, and boy do they sing loud ....

Hey, LOOK, Can we join in, please?
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And now we are a Karaoke Quartet
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Different birds, different background, same old song
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This next behavior, well, I think someone's "personal space" was being invaded.

Yeah? You wanna piece of ME???????
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That's right, pack it up, you sure DON'T wanna piece of me ..... :wink:
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Sandhills do not mate in this area, so these are not mating type rituals. If anyone has further insight, please let me know, especially on the first "singing" behavior.

Thanks,
 
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Toronto Canada
Isn't Spring grande!!!????? All the little rituals that go on all due to hormones... Mother Nature making sure her critters keep on keeping on... :biggrin:
 
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Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
The first two are probably the crane unison call. Since cranes mate for life, they use this call to reinforce their bond, and to ward off predators from their nesting site. I think your captions for the 3rd and 4th shots are dead on!

Sean
 
Joined
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Marysville, WA
Isn't Spring grande!!!????? All the little rituals that go on all due to hormones... Mother Nature making sure her critters keep on keeping on... :biggrin:
Thanks, Sandi, that is what I first thought, until I researched and found out that "no mating no nesting" here. They are only in our area for a few weeks max on their way North. I believe the mating and hatching and all takes place in California, I'm pretty sure I have some photos of the "imature" birds in this bunch.

The first two are probably the crane unison call. Since cranes mate for life, they use this call to reinforce their bond, and to ward off predators from their nesting site. I think your captions for the 3rd and 4th shots are dead on!

Sean
Thanks, you could be correct on the "unison call", I'll go look that up. Bond reinforcing could be part of it, and maybe the other two in the first two pictures are the "kids", see my reply to Sandi, as these corn fields are "feeding only".

Very nice captures Bill, nice setting in the corn fields like that. Love your captions.

Louie
Thanks, Louie. The farmers leave the corn stubble around for a few weeks specifically for the migrating cranes. But when I went back this past weekend, you could see when many of the fields had already been turned over in preparation for the Potato crop. Obviously no birds in those anymore. And these birds fly into the fields twice a day to feed, once from dawn to 10AM, then again 4PM to dusk. Spend the middle of the day in different roosting areas. Just like clockwork.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
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15,253
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Marysville, WA
Nice captures. It amazes me everytime I hear the calls of Sandhills.
Thanks, Greg, they sure do let you know they are around, that is for sure.

After doing a bit more research, and thanks all for the "unison call" hint, I am thinking that this may be a courting ritual going on, as they have nest around May, which would fit with there leaving here and heading North. Pretty cool, no matter what, hope I get this lucky again next season.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
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Placitas, New Mexico
Cranes do form family bonds, and recognize each other by their calls. Sometimes they are letting the rest of the family know where they are. Sometimes they are sounding the alarm if a potential predator has been spotted. And yes, they do lots of sparring and dancing, often trying to impress one another by picking up twigs and sticks and throwing them in the air. Nice photos Bill! Now start making your plans to photograph them down here next winter!
 
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