When Birders go to a Birding Festival they travel from place to place, hang out swapping stories, check out the local scenery, chatter, gossip, and feast on the local culinary delicacies, then go to bed exhausted only to get up early and start over – until its time to go home.
On the other hand, the birds the Birders have come to see travel from place to place, hang out swapping stories, check out the local scenery, chatter, gossip, and feast on the local culinary delicacies, then go to bed exhausted only to get up early and start over – until its time to go home.
Well, fancy that now! Only the Cranes get to stay longer.
Sandhill Crane migration routes extend from Siberia and Alaska to the Northern United States, from Lower Canada to Texas and New Mexico, and from Lower Lake Michigan to Florida.
One group of Sandhills migrates entirely within the western U.S. Both Greater and Lesser Sandhill Cranes summer in Lower Oregon/Upper California and migrate to winter over in California’s Central Valley. Click the Map for a down-loadable version.
The Sandhill Cranes’ Winter Festival
All images taken at their wintering grounds near Lodi, California
Click on the images for a larger size, use your back button to return here
After all, a Crane does have to eat sometime.
Sandhill Cranes feed on a wide variety of plant tubers, grains, small vertebrates (mice and snakes) and invertebrates (insects or worms). Sandhills feed in shallow wetlands and drier, harvested grain fields.
Unable to fly, the chicks forage mostly on insects, worms and other protein rich foods needed to fuel their rapid growth.
Guard Calls are single loud vocalizations used to warn other cranes of danger or to threaten other cranes. These calls are sometimes echoed by the other member of the pair. You can hear this “echoing” in this audio clip. Sandhill Crane Guard Call
Unison Calls performed with the birds standing close to each other and in a synchronized duet, reinforce the pair bond between a female and a male. The Calls are also used to threaten predators or other cranes. Unison Call
Mixing with other migrating flocks
First, Greater white-fronted Geese
The most dramatic flights are in the evening as the day draws to a close and the light darkens to pinkish rose.
Don’t leave yet, you will want to check out these sibling posts:
“Sandhill Cranes dancing”
“Tundra Swan U455”
which you will find in the right hand column, under Bird Life and Behavior.
For information about the November Lodi Crane Festival click www.cranefestival.com or phone 800/581‑6150
For information about Crane Migration click