Sunday, February 02, 2014

The Bird D'Pot - Sandhill Cranes in Zephyrhills, Florida - February 2, 2014

I must confess, aside from pretty common bird varieties, I am no expert.  I confuse
egrets and cranes - though, of course, thanks to their color, I do know flamingos, and,
I can certainly spot pelicans and peacocks.

I am currently on a wonderful month long visit to family and friends in the southern
United States, figuring that, at the vintage age of 69, I might not have another chance 
to see some of the people that I love so much.  It has been a very special trip.

It began with a seven day stop in Florida, visiting Charlene Payton, my friend of forty
years.  We worked together for a year as young nurses in Tampa.  Throughout
the rest of our lives, we have often visited each other and traveled together.

While having breakfast one morning, I spotted these two birds out on the golf
course, among the beautiful old oaks draped in their Spanish moss, the setting
reminiscent of a Southern romance novel.  I immediately grabbed my camera,
intent on snapping a few photos.  Charlene told me the birds were sandhill 
cranes who would resent my intrusion and take to the skies.  They did not and
I blatantly stepped closer, barefooted, advancing slowly.  I had forgotten that
Southern grass is often full of "stickers".  

Thanks to Wikipedia, I learned a good bit about these birds, native to North America
and "extreme northeaster Siberia".  The sandhill crane ( (Grus canadensis) is a large
bird, weighing 8 to 10 pounds, in the adult bird.  Male and female look alike.  The
adult is gray in color and has a bright red forehead, white cheeks and a long pointed
bill.  The sandhill crane stands on long, dark legs.

These birds have a large wingspan and soar much like hawks and eagles, using
thermals to obtain lift.  The article said that they can fly for many hours, without
flapping their wings, conserving their energy.

For more information on the sandhill crane, go to:

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Send your bird photo and join in the fun.


  1. Carmen...these cranes are superior!! You have managed to get up close and personal with them. and the photos you share are remarkable!!!

    Enjoy your time in the South!!!

    1. Anni, it was fun being in the South but I nearly froze my behind off...with temperatures below freezing, even in Tampa, I was wishing my warm coats weren't in storage.

  2. You got great pics of birds that are usually nervous. Only 8-10 pounds? Seems too light.

    1. I think these sandhill cranes are well fed by the seniors at the trailer park and are used to having folks around.

  3. Wow, what a special moment to see these beautiful birds so close.

    1. I was amazed they allowed me to get so close. Those were the only two I saw, though.

  4. Great pictures of them. I love sandhill cranes. I only ever saw one in my life. It looked huge from where I was.

    1. Those were my first, Ratty. I've seen lots of egrets. Of course, I'm not a bird authority like some of my friend who can identify dozens of different species.