The Sandhill Crane
Grus canadensis pratensis
To begin: what is a Bird?
A Bird is a warm blooded,
bipedal (two legs)
vertebrate (has a backbone)
bills and wings and most can
It lays eggs to reproduce and
many theories have
it classified as a direct
descendant of Dinosaurs,
dating back to the Jurassic
The Florida Sandhill Crane
is one of 2 Crane species in Florida,
the other being the
spectacular Whooping Crane.
These 2 Cranes are the
only ones in North America
and are most likely the oldest birds on Earth,
dating back possibly to over 6 million
There are 2 kinds of Sandhill Cranes in
resident and migratory.
The Sandhills Cranes are about 47
have a wingspan of 79 inches and
weigh about 11 pounds.
Crane lifespan averages 20-24 years.
Sandhills Cranes normally
have 2 chicks/babies,
but rarely do they both survive.
As with other great birds, they
care for their young together.
Both Crane species mate for life, however
mate dies or is killed, they will
When Cranes fly, it is
normally in a breath
formation, commanding full attention.
As these magnificent birds
fly over homes
here in the Ocala Forest, they
often squawk in a
sound announcing their presence quite loudly.
their sounds can actually
be heard for several miles away.
Young ones alone in a field will
often call repeatedly
until a parent shows up to calm its
This primordial call is an eerie
auditory reminder of
what the era of the dinosaur must
have been like.
Go here to hear the
Our Cranes can frequently be found in
an open pasture with
local cattle, consuming an easy meal
of corn and grains.
Many days, they land in the
field across the street from us and
carry on for a bit making
sure everyone has noticed them.
Whenever someone lets their dog run
loose in the field,
they squawk loudly and fly off
disgruntled for a moment,
but they return to continue
eating after the invader has left.
They do not share~
Sandhill Cranes with chicks
The Cranes are often
spotted in fields along County Road 42,
just outside Paisley and
are usually in pairs or with a single chick.
The exception was an occasion
recently, when 3 of them
were observed near the
Paisley Post Office parking lot in
what appeared to be a
battle between 2 males for a female.
Sandhills in the Ocala Forest
beautiful, graceful birds will always be here
in the Ocala National
Forest in Central Florida for us to enjoy.
A final note:
There is a wonderful documentary on
if you are lucky enough to get to
It details the travels of the
and has some unforgettable moments~
Places to learn more:
Boreal Songbird Initiative
All about Birds: The Sandhill Crane
Dr. Gary Krapu
Cranes and the Platte River
A Tale of Sandhill Cranes
Crane Cam - live
during Migration - late February to April
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Spring Migration - Sandhill Cranes
Northern Prairie Wildlife
Southwest Florida Water Management
Walking with the Alligators
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Last edited January 17, 2023
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