Lately Tom and I have noticed quite a few Sandhill Cranes while we've been out traveling around. They are a very beautiful, regal looking and an interesting bird to see. They are a very tall bird...about 4 ft. tall and have a very long neck. Their bare forehead is bright red with white cheeks.....neck and body are blue to grayish brown with possible reddish-brown areas. The sounds they make is a bugling or rattling sound which many people call haunting and beautiful...and this sound can be heard for several miles.
When they fly it's also a beautiful sight.... their necks are totally extended and their wings beat, while flying, to powerful rhythmic beats. Sandhill Cranes are another threatened species and are often seen along roadsides, in pastures, farmlands and fresh water marsh areas or possibly right in your own front lawn. We have often see them on golf courses, too.
Mostly seen in small family groups or pairs....while sometimes you might see them with their newly hatched young. The males stay with a mate for several years and their young stay with their parents for about 10 months. I guess that after those several years? of staying with their current mate the males just move on to another mate. Their life span can be up to 20 years which is much longer than most other wild birds.
Now....what do you think they enjoy eating?......it isn't fish.....they enjoy plants and worms, snakes, lizards, frogs, mole crickets or grub worms. They even would enjoy some plants, grains, acorns, or berries.
In 2002 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission made it illegal to feed the Sandhill Crane. Children have been attacked by them and if they are fed by us they can become very aggressive toward us and could also do property damage. They have been known to attack our window screens, and even scratch at our windows, sliding glass doors or shiny cars. Do you wonder why they do that??? Well it brings out a little territorial defense behavior in them.....when they see their reflection in something they try to attack it thinking it's some other Crane invading their territory.
So if you see a few while out traveling around.....enjoy the view then keep on moving. And don't stop and try to share your lunch with them.