Sep 07-12

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2012: September: Sep 07-12
Spreading his wings    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Mike Schneider
A closer look    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Mike Schneider
Young and old    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Melanie Hakala Rossi
Sandhill Crane family    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Melanie Hakala Rossi
Immature Sandhills    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Melanie Hakala Rossi

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 07:55 am:

These prehistoric looking birds are so big, when you see one off in the distance, like in a field, your first thought is that it's a deer. Then you realize it only has two legs and that long skinny neck and you know it's a Sandhill Crane.

The first two photos were snapped by Mike Schneider, as he was walking along the Marsh Walk in the Pictured Rocks National Park. Mike says there's a boardwalk there and as they made their way around it, the Sandhill Cranes cooperated by being closer for photographing, right as they neared a small opening through the brush, enabling him to snap the 2nd photo, the close-up of their heads. You can see the gray in their necks and that red spot on their heads quite well in this shot.

The last three photos were taken by Melanie Hakala Rossi, out at Bete Grise. This looks to be a Sandhill Crane family, as there are two immature cranes there, too, although they're almost as big as the adult birds, they lack the red on their heads. From what I've read, these immature cranes will stay with the parents for a year or so, before going out on their own.

It won't be long now and the skies over the U.P. will be seeing these birds heading south for the winter. You'll hear their distinct call before you see them and then you'll spot their lanky profile, flying overhead. Fun to see and hear them going on their way.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 07:58 am:

Very nice pictures to start the day!! Thanks for sharing!

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 08:35 am:

Cool pictures of cool looking birds!

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 08:43 am:

Amazing birds and photos!

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura (Marsha) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 08:48 am:

There is a sandhill crane festival every year in Bellevue (near Battle Creek). This year it is October 13 and 14. October and November are prime viewing there.

By Donna (Donna) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 09:06 am:

Awesome birds...I remember one time driving along one of those backs roads, a sandhill crane and her baby took off out of a ditch...scared

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 09:50 am:

Really great photos of these great birds. There are a lot of them seen on the back roads in central Wisconsin near my daughter Sue's. Hope I see some next week while I'm up there. Does anyone have an idea where I might see some in Keweenaw area?

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 09:50 am:

Each year at the Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico they have the Festival of the Cranes in November. Being that the Rio Grande Rives forms one of the major flyways for cranes and other birds migrating south, the NWR provides a spectacular opportunity for birders, photographers, and nature lovers from all over the west to gather. At times, the sun can be almost blacked out with the amount of birds that fly over the area. Below I provided a couple of additional websites for your viewing pleasure:

Festival of the Cranes from
Friends of the Bosque del Apache NWR

On a funny note: the students at New Mexico Tech would also get into the spirit of the celebration by hosting the "Festival of the Crayons" where students would place several large (10ft. tall), brightly coloured crayons around Socorro...... oh those crazy college kids!!

By Helen Marie Chamberlain (Helen) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 09:52 am:

We have seen more than usual sand hill cranes along
the roadside or in open fields. Fascinating
looking birds.
Thank you Mike and Melanie for the wonderful

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 10:03 am:

Mary, speaking of thinking a Sandhill Crane is a deer in the distance until you see its 2 legs, put me in mind of a scene from "Jeremiah Johnson", when the two characters (played by Robert Redford & Will Geer) are hunting elk. They see one and Will tells Robert to walk beside his horse, but Robert argues that the "elk will see our legs", and Will counters with "Elk don't know how many legs a horse has!".

By allen philley (Allen) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 01:17 pm:

When see and hear these frequently when camping in Allegan Co. The sound of them in early morning makes you think you are in a Jurassic Park movie. My wife could not remember their name so she calls them "Dirt Birds". Dirt, sand whats the differance. They are fun and you don't need a Rooster to tell you it is morning.

By Kathyrn Laughlin (Kathyl) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 01:26 pm:

There is a sandhill crane sanctuary near Jackson, MI called the Phyliis Haehnle sanctuary
You can see cranes fly into the marsh around sunset. They also have, in cooperation with a local winery the CRANES COLORS AND CABERNET FESTIVAL on Saturday, October 15 - 11:00 am until evening.

Allen, I agree their calls make me think of a pteradactyl.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 02:57 pm:

By allen philley (Allen) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 01:17 pm:
Dirt, sand whats the differance.

GASP!!!!! Dirt and sand are not the same!! Sand is naturally occurring material from the breakdown (either physical or mechanical) of rocks/minerals. Dirt is any unclean material that is in direct contact with an object or a person.

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 03:25 pm:

"Dirt Birds", that's funny, Allen!;)

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 04:25 pm:

Take 3 deep breaths Capt. and focus on your happy place. :-)

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 05:18 pm:

Yes Dr. Goldwinger!! J

By Marianne Y (Marianne) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 08:08 pm:

Are you saying that crops, and other plants grow in sand, not dirt, or something to that effect, Capt. Paul? I'm just wondering how you would classify the great black soil used to grow corn & soybeans, etc, in northwest Iowa, out of curiosity? The black soil there is naturally occurring materials, although not all of it is of mineral origin, considering that it also contains organic matter from decaying crops from past years, etc. :-)

By Dr. Nat (Drnat) on Friday, September 7, 2012 - 09:21 pm:

My soil professor would become irate if anyone dared call soil "dirt." He insisted that dirt is nasty stuff, but soil is the stuff of life. (Yes, I had a semester long graduate class about soil and spent a year working in a soil lab). Technically, soil is an unconsolidated mix of mineral material and organic matter that can support plant life. Sand, on the other hand is a mineral particle 1/16 to 2mm in diametre that results from weathering of older rocks. Soil can contain sand, but sand itself is not soil.

I know, I know. Those darn scientists and our technicalities. But to be honest, I call soil "dirt," even though I know better.

By Diana P. (Diana) on Saturday, September 8, 2012 - 11:38 am:

As a parent chaparone on a school field trip, I heard a high school agri-science teacher emphasize a similar difference between soil and dirt; soil being "the good stuff ... for growing things" and dirt being "the bad stuff ... including soil where you don't want it". I learned something that day, and have always remembered it! :-)

Marsha, thanks for sharing the information on the CraneFest in Bellevue. :-)

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