About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Photo Share: Crane and Grouse

Found mainly in woodlands with small clearings, the Ruffed Grouse is a year round resident of Michigan. They differ from other grouse species in their courtship display by relying entirely on a non-vocal acoustic display, known as drumming.

The drumming itself is a rapid, wing-beating display that creates a low frequency sound, starting slow and speeding up (thump...thump...thump..thump-thump-thump-thump). Even in thick woods this can be heard for a quarter mile or more

The Sandhill Crane is a summer resident in Michigan. They are among the first birds to return in mid February in the southern parts of the state and a month later in the northern areas. Once almost completely gone from Michigan waters, the Sandhill Cranes are now flourishing and have become a popular sight around our lakes.

Cranes live about 25 to 30 years and wait to choose a mate until thy're 4-years old. Crane families stay together for awhile, then young birds begin to hang out together in groups of 20, called a "bachelor flock."

When sandhill cranes are ready to mate, they begin a unique courtship ritual that starts with bowing and jumping movements that increase in tempo until the whole flock is dancing.

While they dance, the pair lets out a series of loud calls. The male utters a note followed quickly by the female's two-note answer. Sometimes you can hear them from 2 miles away on quiet spring mornings.

Joshua Chrisman (Creator and Admin of Michigan's Wildlife on www.facebook.com/MichigansWildlife) sent us these lovely pictures that he took last year.

Thank you for sharing your photos! If anyone else would like to share a photograph of nature send it to bloubird@gmail.com and I'll put it on the Friday Photo posts. 

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