Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Craning Our Necks

As B and I walked around our neighborhood this weekend, we heard strange bird calls. Looking up, we saw four large cranes fly over our heads. We have never seen sandhill cranes in our county, but we have in a nearby one once many years ago. We are familiar with them from our visits to central Florida where they are common. To complicate things, whooping cranes have been  ultralight plane-led to the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (due south of us) in an attempt to establish a wintering ground there.

I consulted with some experts and received mixed opinions on whether they were more likely sandhills or whoopers. The evening light was going and we live in a heavily wooded area so we only caught the briefest of glimpses of them.  And we were so surprised by the cranes that we did not make very good observations.  We are not even sure if they were gray or white. They were calling to each other as they flew; the recordings online of the flight calls, are so similar that that was no help either.

For more information about the St. Mark's Whoopers, see

There is a nice little amateur video of the cranes that arrived last December 15---- another reason to question whether or not we saw whoopers: this is December.

I guess it will remain a mystery which birds we saw. Either way, it was a rare and exciting sight for here!

1 comment:

Daniel said...

You sure they weren't Ivory Bills? ;)