|Sandhill Crane feeding|
|Notice the elongated wing feathers of the Sandhill Crane. They look like a feather duster.|
|Close-up of Sandhill Crane foot and legs|
Having lived in South Florida, Sandhill Cranes were not uncommon in the area. We almost took it for granted how often we would see these graceful birds since there are resident populations in Florida. Oftentimes these birds are quite friendly and will come right up to you, and many people say they’ll even eat out of your hands! Well, we didn’t have them eating out of our hands, but we did get some great close encounters at times.
|Nesting Sandhill Crane|
|Sandhill Crane in the marsh|
|Nesting Sandhill Crane peaking up from her nest|
These set of photos are from one of the first times we encountered Sandhill Cranes. Back when we actually had Spring Break in grad school, we took our first real birding vacation in early March 2009 to go a little north of the Palm Beach area to Viera Wetlands and Merritt Island. Right when we drove into the Viera Wetlands parking lot, a beautiful Sandhill Crane was there to greet us. He let us get quite close to him and snap photos of him as we awed at how statuesque he was. I must say that I was expecting that all Sandhill Cranes were going to be this close to us throughout our drive through Viera, but it was not the case. But we were definitely not disappointed as we did have plenty of Sandhill Cranes in large groups seen in the distance, flying overhead, and we even spotted a few nesting cranes.
|The elegant Sandhill Crane|
|"What are you looking at!?!" (If you click on the pic to enlarge and flip back and forth from the previous picture and say this phrase, it's quite amusing).|
|Sandhill Crane - Striking red eyes and forehead and large, fluffy body are unmistakeable.|
I do miss the fact that we don’t have Sandhill Cranes all year round here in Georgia, but it’s nice to know that they pass through and sometimes stop to give a warm, loud hello!