Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Sandhill Cranes

Last year I wrote about the Sandhill Cranes on Manitoulin Island in this post. This year they were around in great numbers again and we saw and heard them frequently in the fields around the camp. I saw a pair of young birds for the first time as they walked down the gravel road ahead of me one evening. An adult bird was off to the side keeping an eye on them.

Watchful adult a short distance away from the young birds below

With all the rain we have had this summer, the vegetation in the fields is much higher and it was hard to see the birds unless they were in a freshly mowed hayfield. There were many deer about in the open this year, even in the mid-afternoon. We saw a group of cranes and deer in a field close to the road. I have yet to see a Sandhill Crane in the water.

Juvenile Sandhill Cranes

We don't have many large birds like these (other than Great Blue Herons and the rarely seen Great Egrets) in Ontario. Manitoulin Island is a nesting place for many birds we see only in the winter or during migration in southern Ontario. The Mergansers and other diving ducks, Bald Eagles, and Cranes raise their young in this relatively safe and quiet place. And other birds such as Cardinals and House Finches never venture this far north.

I wonder what I would find another 360 km further north from the island in the James Bay Frontier?


  1. they are huge! What great pictures. I remember a post from Sycamore Canyon about sandhill cranes.

  2. Those are such cool birds and how wonderful that you get to see them just casually walking around in a field. :c)

  3. Anonymous7:48 am GMT-4

    Now that's a big bird! Love the pic with the deer and crane. Nice to have witness nature co-habiting. I agree, last year I saw only 2 deers near my area. This year I've see them at least every 2weeks. In fact, I saw Momma and baby just 2 days ago. Very cute.
    I saw an Egert this year. It was on the Doon Trail, past the mill and as the trail splits along the river, it was in that little picnic area to the right. I watched it for about 15 minutes. I quess I should consider myself lucky to have spotted one.

  4. Its always wonderful to see Sandhill Cranes for I have only seen them about four times. My first sighting was somewheres in the Carolinas, then once in New Brunswick, though they are not frequent visitors here. The most I saw at one time was near Blind River in Ontario in the late 1990's where there was asmall group of them in a field adjacent to the highway. Your post is lovely and informative with great photos!

  5. What great photos. A couple of Sandhill Cranes just walking down the road! And the picture of the two cranes and the deer is outstanding. Thanks for sharing.

  6. We haven't seen one Sandhill crane yet this year! I was so excited the first time I saw one ... about 5 years ago now.

  7. That's just the sweetest picture of the deer and cranes.

  8. Beth- Thanks for the link to Kathie's blog. They are big and yet so graceful especially when they fly.

    Jayne- There aren't many places where you can see them like this. Certainly not around our home.

    Cheryl- That is the second Egret sighting I have heard of this summer here. I saw them last year in September during migration only.

    Ann- Thanks. You do get around! Besides Manitoulin Island, they do breed around Sault Ste Marie and area as well.

    NCMW- I was so pleased to see the cranes and deer together. It does give some perspective on their size.

    CS- I would imagine you get a western migration of these birds. It would be interesting to know where ours spend the winter.

    Jean- Thanks. I was very fortunate to get it from the car as we passed the field.

  9. What fun..I always followed Operation Migration with the cranes that are taught to migrate by following an ultralight aircraft ..Michelle

  10. Ruth - your first photo of the deer and the cranes is beautiful, so pastoral. Hmm. That just made me think of Psalm 23. I enjoy Sandhill Cranes so much that my husband and I travel to New Mexico each year to see large flocks of them (Bosque del Apache NWR). But it looks like you were able to get fairly close to these cranes, whereas we see them from a distance.

  11. Cool pictures, Ruth. Deer and Sandhill Cranes in the same pasture would be a dream for me!


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