Love at First Sighting

On one of our excursions to the Orlando Wetlands I had my first encounter with a Sandhill Crane, and it was love at first sighting!

There were actually a pair of Sandhill Cranes that we met in the parking lot (they were up to no good and ready to vandalize a vehicle!) and then we saw them again at the edge of the marsh.

These LOUD birds are so interesting. They are similar to Great Blue Herons in size and shape, but their markings are different and make them easy to recognize. And even when you can’t see them, you know they around because their volume is turned all the way up!

I “googled” Sandhill Cranes (since I was unfamiliar with them) and learned a few fun facts. They are highly social birds who mate for life, and who often engage in energetic and somewhat graceful dances with their partners. They have long, dagger-like beaks and clawed-toe feet – both of which are used for foraging and for fighting off foes. Apparently, they do a karate-kid-like maneuver when threatened, spreading their wings for balance and then kicking with their claws. I would have loved to have seen that!

I hope I get another chance to hang out with these loud but lovely birds one day!

14 thoughts on “Love at First Sighting

  1. They are some of my favorite birds too. Used to be uncommon for us to see them, but now they are everywhere! My close encounters with them are at one of the parks about 40 minutes south of where I live, where they are used to humans. They, too, like yours come right up to the cars in the parking lot. I call the two that hang out there the parking lot attendants, they want their fee (food) before you can leave the parking lot to explore the trails.

  2. It is really awe inspiring when you see them for the first time, close by and on the ground, when you realize how very large they are. Great shots! Love the brilliant red on their heads. William

  3. Kathy, your photos of the sandhill cranes are spectacular. I am a watercolorist and birder. I am in a longstanding art class that paints birds once a month for Draw-a-Bird Day. I write a blog on WordPress: The Wednesday Studio. In the blog I post all of the art received for the 8th of the month DAB-Day. Would you give me permission to send your crane photos to the class so that someone could paint one for DAB=Day? (Also, we would love you to follow our blog–I do only about 2-3 posts a month.

      1. Oh, Kathy, I just went back and saw this reply from you. Thank you so much. (I sent a similar comment just today on your post of the roseate spoonbill because I didn’t see this reply from you.
        I have been following you for several years and just LOVE your photogrsphy (and am frankly so jealous that you ahve so many wonderful birds in your yard.) I live right in DC in a rowhouse and am a birder. Apart from house sparrows, starlings and grackles our visotrs are carolina wrens, cardinals, mockingbirds, and the occasional downy, bluejay, and–this is new–red-shouldered hawk!

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