Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sandhill Crane

While I was intently photographing the Cyprus Clubtail of the last post, Erika, some distance away, was gesticulating and pointing to my left. In  a weedy field in back of some homes and near a canal, strolled a Sandhill Crane. The crane allowed me close approach before it finally flew.

Sandhill Crane systematics are complicated. Basically six races inhabit northern North America, but these populations interbreed where they overlap (especially in these days of expanding crane populations) and the races are often further divided by wildlife managers into units determined by where they breed.

The crane in this photo is a Florida Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis pratensis. This birds reside from southeastern Georgia to central Florida. They do not migrate. They are similar to the Mississippi Sandhill Crane, which breed in southern Mississippi. Florida birds are generally paler than those from Mississippi. A third race is resident in Cuba. The three remaining races are migratory. The Lesser Sandhill Crane breeds from Siberia across Arctic Alaska and Canada; the Canadian Sandhill breeds further south, from British Columba east into Ontario; and the Great Sandhill Crane breeds from southern British Columbia east to the western Great Lakes (Gerber et al. 2014).

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