Sandhill Cranes give a loud trumpeting call that can be heard long before you see them. Mated pairs of cranes engage in unison calling. The cranes stand close together, calling in a synchronized and complex duet. The female makes two calls for every one from the male.
Sandhill cranes’ large wingspans, ranging from 5 feet to 7 feet 6 in, make them very skilled soaring birds, similar in style to hawks and eagles. The Sandhill Cranes use thermals to obtain lift, and can stay aloft for many hours — requiring only occasional flapping of their wings and expending little energy. Migratory flocks contain hundreds of birds, and create clear outlines of the normally invisible rising columns of thermals that they ride. The cranes appear to be playing while on their migratory path with no reservations.
This folk art bird carving was carved from old cedar, painted with acrylic paints, and finished with various stains in the aging process.
The Sandhill Cranes were heading back north this week to their breeding range, which is in the Spring and Summer. I think the unseasonal weather has them coming back a bit early. At times, the sky was filled with hundreds of Cranes rattling gar-oo-oo and were audible for miles. The migrating flocks were flying at great heights.
Cranes are phenomenal birds. The Sandhill Crane is prevalent in the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wild Life Area in Medaryville, IN during the Fall. Greater Sandhill Cranes can be seen from late September through December during their Fall migration. Crane numbers peak in mid-November. This year the numbers have topped 28,000. They regular feed in the surrounding dry fields and return to the water at nights.
You can check out more information and weekly counts at the DNR website.
If you’d like to see additional photos of this rustic Sandhill Crane carving, please leave a comment or send me an email through the contact form.