Sandhill Cranes Spotted near Skootamatta

May 02, 2019

Cathy and Ken Hook have seen (and heard) several Sandhill Cranes fly over Skootamatta since mid-April.  The Lake is on a migration route as the huge Cranes heard north to their breeding grounds.  Today, for the first time they saw one quite close on land at Pearson Pond.  Pearson Pond is adjacent to Skootamatta between North Shore and Jacques Bay Road.  It’s a round pond-bog.

Sandhill Cranes breed farther north – as far north as the Arctic. They are just passing through when they visit Skootamatta.  The birds they saw today likely will stay the night at Pearson Pond.  Sandhill Cranes are larger than our common Great Blue Heron with a wingspan of 80 inches compared to the 70-inch wingspan of Great Blue Heron.  They appear quite different when they fly too.  Herons fly with their necks curled and their feet outstretched. Cranes fly with both neck and legs outstretched.

The call is unmistakable.  Trumpet-like, almost Jurassic Park like!  Whenever Cathy and Ken hear them flying overhead it sounds so prehistoric to them.

Today they heard a large male at Pearson Pond.  Their call carries – Cathy and Ken were over 400m away, but the call could be heard much further.  They think there were three at the Pond but only clearly saw one.  Of course, they didn’t have their camera (that’s when you really want to take a photo). The photo in this post is from the National Wildlife Federation. 

SANDHILL CRANE_1.jpg

If you’ve ever been to Gainesville, Florida hundreds of Sandhill Cranes spend the winter here.  They can be seen within the city limits at the University of Gainesville Experimental Beef Farm.  They like to pick around the barnyard after the cattle. Visitors can get quite close to these majestic birds – quite a sight!



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