Saturday, March 21, 2009

Camera Critters-Sandhill Cranes

Every year, during March and early April, more than 80% to 90% of the world's population of Sandhill cranes pass through the Platte River Valley. It is the largest assembly of sandhill cranes in the world. The cranes come to rest and refuel as they prepare to journey to breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia.

The cranes using the Platte River is not a new phenomenon. Fossil remains of a sandhill crane date as far back as 8 million years.

During the day the sandhill cranes feed on waste corn in corn fields adjacent to the Platte River. The corn is about 90% of their diet. The remainder of their diet consists of insects, earthworms, snails and plants. During their stop in Nebraska, cranes will gain nearly 10% of their body weight.

The cranes spend the night on sandbars in the Platte River. The river offers the cranes protection from predators during the night. Being in a blind along the Platte River to watch the cranes come back to the Platte at night, or to watch them lift off in the morning is an awesome experience. I did neither this year. But watching them feeding in the corn fields is interesting also.


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More about Sandhill Cranes can be found here

Head on over to Camera Critters to see more critters (by clicking on the icon)


Camera Critters


UPDATE: Sunday morning March 22.
The Lincoln Journal Star has an article about the sandhill cranes in todays paper.

14 comments:

i beati said...

The other percent is here and I love them sandy

Snap said...

I love sandhill cranes. When we lived in New Mexico we went to Bosque del Apache each year to watch them. Thanks for the memories!

Willard said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I like your photographs a lot. I noticed on you web page that you use the 40-D. I use it also along with a 30-D.

I saw the sandhill cranes once in Yellowstone, but I didn't get as close to them.

April said...

Very interesting post and beautiful photos! I would love to see the sandhill cranes again. I saw some one spring in a field while I was out walking along a road (west of Prince George, British Columbia). But that was a few years ago. As I recall, they were very wary even though they were far away from the road.

Grammy said...

Amazing photos!

fishing guy said...

Kayleen: A beautiful look at the Sandhill Crane. I do love your overhead shot very much.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

AMAZING! To have been returning to the same spot for 8 million years. WOW! Are they as graceful as they appear in these photos?

Lilli & Nevada said...

I don't think i have ever seen this kind of bird before, they are beautiful in flight and you did a great job capturing them.
Sorry it took so long to catch up this week but your right with all that feeding i get behind.

Babooshka said...

More birds I don't have here and wish I did. They are so majestic in flight.

Beautiful Creation said...

Wonderful photos. I especially like the third one. I had never heard of these birds before your post!

Misty Dawn said...

These are truly great photos! I really enjoyed this post!

Mel said...

The third shot is awesome...it was like I was standing directly beneath them! Thanks for sharing!

Carolina said...

I love the formation-flying-shots. Wonderful birds.

lisaschaos said...

Wow, I learned something. I had no idea they had been around that long! I just saw my first one of the year last weekend, and was so excited. I am determined to get photos of the babies this year. They use WI as breeding grounds too. :)