NEX-6/55-210/DH1758: SANDHILL CRANES

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DLeeT
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NEX-6/55-210/DH1758: SANDHILL CRANES
9 months ago

I live on one of the major flyways of the Sandhill Cranes and nearby is one of their "rest stops" on their annual migration. It is not unusual to see hundreds of them in the sky during their migration; they are high fliers (usually 3-5000 feet) and travel about 350 miles per day.

They are fascinating birds. They are one of the oldest -- if not the oldest -- species of living birds. The oldest unequivocal Sandhill Crane fossil is 2.5 million years old, over one and a half times older than the earliest remains of most living species of birds.

They are big -- wing spans to 6 feet. They are rather unique in that they love to dance! They mate for life (as opposed to we humans!), partners chosen in dancing ritual. Due to the anatomy of their trachea, their song as they fly is an unforgettably haunting chortle that is a sure harbinger of Spring and Autumn.

C&C welcome, but please keep in mind I already know they are not as sharp as one would like -- these guys do not like people and they will even avoid you when flying so you can never get close enough. But I suppose that is the lament of all critter shooters!

Here is a link with more info and it includes a clip of their strange "song."

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/sandhill-crane/

Lee

This is just a "crop" of the hundreds that are at times visible.

Along with the shot below, this is typical landing behavior.  It almost seems they pride themselves in not flapping a wing in about the last 50 feet of their final approach.  They will maneuver this way and that, and then turn into the wind in the last few seconds.  Gear down, full flaps:

Below: Singing a duet -- the other two birds seem unimpressed...

Here you see the dancing behavior.  A good video would be better.

OK, pretty blurry, but the message is tack sharp -- Not much has changed in the last couple million years, even among species.  This is a mating dance and as you can see, the male is really "strutting his stuff."  The female seems totally unimpressed to say the least.  I can feel for this guy, because I've been in his situation with the ladies more times than I wish to recall!

 DLeeT's gear list:DLeeT's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN Sigma 19mm F2.8 EX DN Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS +1 more
Sony Alpha NEX-6
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