Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Those Red-Headed Birds!

One of the things I love about visiting Florida is getting to see the Sandhill Cranes.  They are beautiful and graceful birds.  The Florida Sandhills are on the endangered list, with roughly 5,000 remaining.  It is protected, and if killed, carries a very high monetary penalty.  According to Wikipedia (my source for much of this information), the current outlook for this crane is good, if it can be maintained on the protected habitats.
These birds raise one brood a year, with both members building the nest using plant material from the surrounding areas.  The nests sites are usually in marshes or bogs, although they occasionally nest on dry land.  There anywhere from 1 to 3 eggs that are oval-shaped and brown with reddish markings.  Both parents participate in the incubation which lasts 29 to 32 days.  The chicks usually reach independence at 9 or 10 months old.  They remain with their parents until 1 or 2 months before the next brood of eggs is laid.  
The average weight of the male is about 10 lbs., while the female is just under 9 lbs. 
Their call is a loud, trumpeting noise that can be heard from a long distance.  Mated pairs engage in unison calling", standing close together in a synchronized and complex duet.  The female makes 2 calls for every one of the male. 
Their wingspan is 5.4 - 6.9 ft..  The use thermals to obtain lift and can stay aloft for many hours, requiring only occasional flapping of their wings and expending little energy. 
In flight, their long legs trail behind and the long neck is kept straight. 


Linking to World Bird Wednesday.

15 comments:

Sheeps and Peeps Farm said...

wonderful photos... just beautiful!

Nancy Claeys said...

Beautiful birds -- love the reflections. :)

onespoiledcat said...

I lived in Clearwater for years and never saw one of these cranes but they really are interesting looking BIG birds! Great photos.

Pam (and Sam)

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Beautiful series of shots of this very unusual looking bird Linda. Sounds like it's odds for survival are good thankfully.

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

Great photos and information about these endangered birds. Glad to hear their odds of survival are good.

Jan n Jer said...

Fl has the most awesome birds!

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful! love the 2nd shot w/ those big, stalky legs!

mick said...

Great photos of a beautiful bird.

Red said...

Sand hills are one of my favorite birds. There must be some that stay south and others that migrate north. We have them nesting in Alberta but they are quite secretive.

Island Rambles Blog said...

wow these are great shots...we had a few fly up and visit us but I never could get close to them like you did...amazing birds!!

Springman said...

Our world would be infinitely poorer without them...great catches of the Sandhills!

Carletta said...

I have the red hair I wish I had the long legs! :)
Great shots Linda!

Jann Olson said...

Those birds are definately amazing. You got some great pics!
Hugs,
Jann

Adam Jones said...

Fantastic Cranes. They are a bird on my list of must sees.

Larry said...

Beautiful shots of the Sandhill Cranes Linda! I always refer to their call as prehistoric and run outside to see them flying over whenever I hear it in the Spring and Fall ;-) Your last shot with the reflections is awe inspiring!