Sandhill Crane

Sandhill cranes9392aIn the spring large flocks of Canada Geese can be seen flying north in perfect “V” formations with military-like precision. As the crow flies they go, and straight as an arrow. They are the picture of migratory efficiency. And then there are the Sandhill Cranes. They don’t do formations, or straight line anything! They are commonly seen flying over cities, in big sweeping circular patterns, and they look a little bit ridiculous doing this. Until you consider what they are actually doing, that is. Hot air rising above cities allows these cranes to gain altitude, and so they sacrifice some forward progress during their spiraling ascent, then they glide along until the next city or thermal comes along. Here’s another expert birding tip brought to you by when you hear a strange, high pitched chortle coming from the sky during migration, don’t give up on looking too soon, because you can typically hear the Sandhill Cranes long before they come into view.