Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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  Sandhill Crane
 
 

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  Order Gruiformes - Crakes, Rails and Allies
   Family Gruidae - Cranes
      Subfamily Gruinae - Typical Cranes

  Gruiforms include a diverse assemblage found in most areas of the world. They are aquatic or terrestrial with the anterior toes free or incompletely webbed.
Cranes are long-legged, long-necked marsh-dwellers. They fly with their necks outstretched and feet trailing. 
     
     
  Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
 
  Cornell     USGS     Wiki     ToL    EoL
        WINTER - Accidental / Accidental
            FIELDS, WET PRAIRIE
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   There are several subspecies (populations) of the Sandhill Crane. Lesser Sandhill Cranes, Grus canadensis canadensis, breed farther north - they are small with a shorter bill and shorter legs and relatively long wings. The Greater Sandhill Crane, Grus c. tabida, breeds from central Canada southward. It is larger and has a noticeably longer bill and is relatively short-winged. G. c. pratensis breeds in Georgia and Florida. In winter, Sandhill Cranes tend to mix and these birds are difficult to identify to subspecies.
   All adults are gray and have a red crown. Juveniles are brownish but this color fades by the first winter. They run a few steps when taking off. The fly with a slow downbeat and a quick upbeat. Note that, like ibises and storks, they fly with the neck and legs extended. They frequently utter their rolling rattle as they fly and will call your attention to their presence.
Sandhill Crane
     
Sandhill Crane. Discovery Island,
Disney World
   
  RANGE: Cranes breed broadly across Canada from Wisconsin north through Quebec to Baffin Island and west to coastal Alaska, then south through Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba - with some isolated populations in the northwest. they nest in low-lying tundra, marshes, swampy edges, and wet pine savanna, foraging in adjacent grasslands and fields. They winter in the southwest and there is a permanent population in central Florida. Some winter around the Okefenokee in southern Georgia,
  BREEDING: Monogamous. One brood. Both parents participate in building a bulky nest of sticks, moss, reeds, and grass. They usually build amid marsh vegetation in shallow water. The nest may rest on the bottom or be anchored to standing vegetation. They lay 2 (1-3) eggs. The female does the majority of the incubation which takes 29-32 days. Young leave the nest soon after hatching and follow their parents. Both adults feed the precocial young but they soon learn to feed themselves. They make their first flight at about 65 days. Young ("colts") remain with their parents for 9-10 months and accompany them on the fall migration.
   Note that populations nesting in Mississippi, Florida, and Cuba do not migrate.
   Sandhill Cranes do not breed until they are 2-7 years old and can live up to 25 years. Mated pairs stay together year round.
  DIET: Opportunistic. Includes insects, roots, rodents, snails, frogs, lizards, snakes, grass shoots, grain, berries, lichens, and aquatic plants. They eat cultivated grain when available. They forage in flocks.
  VOICE: Loud, resonant wooden rattle that is often heard as they feed and as they fly overhead - look for migrants over open fields. They also utter a rolling bugle call. The dancing display is accompanied by a complex duet.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Coastal - rare winter visitor. Cape Romain - accidental. Huntington Beach - exceptional April, November, January.
      Caw Caw - uncommon fall. ACE - accidental.
   CBC: ACE 0, 11, 6, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0; Charleston 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0;
            Hilton Head 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1;
            McClellanville 0, 1, 0, 0, nc, 0, 1, 0.
   P&G: Rare visitor througout the state. Most records are in November - December. Maximum, 14, South Edisto River, 20 December 1966.
   M&P: 2 reports since 1987.
   Avendex: 27 records. Maximum 17, Santee Coastal Reserve, January 19, 2003. Records from September through May.
   Potter: Sandhill Cranes are spring and fall transients, mostly in the marshes along the coast, but they often pass overhead and are not seen. However, they are becoming widespread as winter visitors. Unusually dry wintering grounds in Florida and southern Georgia may lead to northward movements in winter.
  ●  These are rare transients and winter visitors in South Carolina. Listen for their resonant rattle as they fly overhead. They would be accidental as migrants on Seabrook.
       
    Banner - Sandhill Crane, Disney World, Orlando FL.
       
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