~ Sandhill Cranes in ALASKA ~


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General Information




Sandhill Cranes are large migratory birds primarily found in North America, although a small population has also been reported in Siberia.

They have an elongated neck and long slender legs. The adult Cranes' plumage is a light shade of grey and brown, with a red forehead.

When Sandhill Cranes are ready to migrate, they gather in flocks several hundred strong. It is quite a sight to watch thousands of Sandhill Cranes spiraling up and taking advantage of ascending columns of warm air, also known as thermals.

They make a very distinctive gurgling sound which can be heard from miles away as they fly in formation in the sky.



  Common Names:
  Scientific Name:
  Sandhill Crane
  Grus canadensis
  Class:
  Family:
  Aves
  Gruidae
  Breeding Range:
  Winter Range:
  Alaska, Canada, Western US
  Southern US
  Wing Span:
  Weight:
  180 to 210 cm (approx. 6 to 7 feet)
  3 to 5 kg (approx. 7 to 11 lbs)


Cranes are one of the oldest living bird species. Archeologists have found fossils dating from several million years ago.








During their spring migration, Sandhill Cranes congregate in Nebraska in the Platte River Valley where they rest and build up their energy reserves before continuing their journey North to Alaska or Canada. It has been reported that close to 90% of the world Sandhill Crane population passes through the Platte River Valley.












Sandhill Crane Taking Off





Sandhill Cranes in the Sky






A large flock of Sandhill Cranes and Canada Geese take to the sky at the same time.







Sandhill Crane with Colt

Sandhill Crane feeding its Colt in the marshes of Alaska during the summer.














Landing













Sandhill Cranes Fighting



In a crowded field with hundreds of Sandhill Cranes, fights are inevitable ...







Sandhill Cranes in the Field








Sandhill Cranes Dancing


During the mating season, Sandhill Cranes are seen in their courtship rituals, bowing, leaping and spreading their wings.







Sandhill Cranes Mating


The love dance was successful, and the cranes now proceed with the important matters ...







Sandhill Cranes in the Summer





Sandhill Cranes enjoy a leisurely walk in the flower fields.









Sandhill Cranes in the Fall

It's late fall, and the wind is blowing cotton flower seeds high in the sky. A few Sandhill Cranes are passing by, in front of my camera, but it looks as if they are flying through snow flakes ...




Cranes in hay fields.





Sandhill Cranes in Flight








Sandhill Cranes in Fairbanks












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