|Photo by Diana Carr-Adams|
This was taken several months ago (the baby is probably as big as the adult by now) but I thought it was such a unique capture so wanted to share it..... Sandhill Crane in Oxford, MI
Sandhill Cranes migrate in to Michigan in the spring to raise a brood of chicks. Egg-laying usually begins between early April and late May. Breeding pairs build their nests on the ground near or over shallow water in marshes and bogs.
The female lays 2 eggs and both parents help incubate the eggs for a month. The chicks hatch covered in down, with their eyes open and are able to leave the nest within 24 hours but can't fly for another 70 days. The parents feed the chicks for 3 weeks after hatching and then help them learn how to forage for the next 9 or 10 months. They feed on frogs, fish, and insects, but also take much plant food such as seeds, fruits, and aquatic vegetation.
When chicks finally leave their parents, they form nomadic flocks with other subadults and non-breeders. They remain with these flocks until they form breeding pairs and begin breeding between the ages of 2 and 7 years old. Sandhill cranes can live to at least 21 years of age.
Sandhill crane numbers were much reduced by habitat loss and shooting in the early part of this century but have grown in recent decades. A two year survey funded by the Nongame Wildlife Fund confirmed 805 breeding pair in Michigan.
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