Sandhill Cranes Returning From Their Summer Breeding Grounds

by Larry Jordan on December 10, 2009

Sandhill Cranes Take Off photos by Larry Jordan

I was lucky enough to catch these Sandhill Cranes taking off from a field near Chico, California last weekend when I went to visit a friend and survey his property for one of my Burrowing Owl habitat installations.  Yes, I was fortunate to be awarded a California Audubon Collaborative Grant to install Burrowing Owl habitat in Northern California!  (Can you see me jumping up and down with delight?)  More on that later.

I was hoping to have time to stop by Llano Seco, one of the units of the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge but I was running late.  So, I was thrilled to happen upon this group of Sandhill Cranes along Ord Ferry Road where I stopped to snap a few photos.

Last year Brigitte and I visited Cosumnes River Preserve to see the cranes following the Sandhill Crane Festival that takes place every year in the Central Valley of California, around Lodi.  This is one of the photos I took last year where there were hundreds of cranes foraging the remnants of the corn fields on North Staten Island Road.  Here is a map of the Crane Viewing Sites in this area.

And here is a short video of a pair of Sandhill Cranes displaying their courtship dance.  One of the reasons I picked this video is that the cranes are calling back and forth in the video.  Their prehistoric call, for me, is one of the best reasons to visit these birds whenever you can.  The sound of hundreds of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead, calling to each other, is unforgettable.

Be sure to visit all the other great Skywatch Friday photos too!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill December 11, 2009 at 8:01 am

Aw, lucky! I miss seeing sandhills..don’t really get them here up on the North Coast. cool photos and video too!
.-= Jill´s last blog ..Harbor Seals Sitting Pretty =-.


Nicole December 11, 2009 at 11:45 am

You are so lucky :D! Those are beautiful!
.-= Nicole´s last blog ..Tristram’s Grackle, Tristramstar, Onychognathus tristramii =-.


Dorothy December 11, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Great shots of these beautiful birds!!! I like birds and trying to photograph them, too.
.-= Dorothy´s last blog ..Skywatch Friday =-.


chris December 13, 2009 at 10:56 am

Yes you were lucky Larry and we can now see nice shots of them… I’ve never seen one and would like to do so!
.-= chris´s last blog ..Tomorrow is the big day!!! =-.


Kelly December 15, 2009 at 4:26 am

….beautiful birds. I love these guys…saw them for the first time this fall. Great video!
.-= Kelly´s last blog ..Walking the winter woods =-.


Scott December 16, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Jealous…so far I have only been able to see them at a distance this season. Nothing worthy of a photos like yours.

We also stopped by the Cosumnes River Preserve on Sunday, but the rain kept us from wandering too far from shelter.
.-= Scott´s last blog ..Burrowing Owl Mitigation is Eradication and Eviction =-.


Alan Wojtkowiak January 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I’m not a regular bird watcher, but while outside I
heard bird calls approaching. Never heard before.
Went in for binoculars & rewarded with the sight of high flying sandhills, about 65 to 70 birds strung
out in the sky. They were going due south, over our Urbana, IN toward Wabash. I’m told they were
probably from the Jasper-Pulaski State Fish & Wildlife Area in the N.W. corner of Pulaski Co.
Wonderful. (was 1-03-10 @ 3 PM) Alan 73s


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