Animal of the Week: What is a Sandhill Crane?

My husband and I have found a new love.  Before you start thinking, “hmm, they do live in Utah, home to Big Love, Sister Wives, and Polygamy Porter”, let me explain.  We live on a nature preserve in Park City which, in the Spring, is home to Greater Sandhill Cranes.  Greater Sandhill Cranes are very large, prehistoric looking birds (Lesser Sandhill Cranes, are, you guessed it, their smaller cousins).

At first this particular pair of cranes would wake us up at 6am with their insanely loud honking and drive us crazy.  Lately, they’ve been sleeping in and calling to each other after 7:30am – a much more civilized hour.   Apparently, mated pairs of cranes engage in “unison calling.”  This means the cranes stand facing each other and call out in a in a synchronized and complex duet.  The female makes two calls for every single call of the male.  And, wow, is it loud.  Best alarm clock we’ve ever had.

After we got used to their honking, we fell in love with the cranes.  We go to the balcony every morning to see where they are.  We point them out to our daughter who calls them coocoos.  I send texts to my co-host on This Green Earth Nell who works at the Swaner Eco-Center telling her to look out her window at the cranes.  They’re always there, so I think she’s a little concerned about my newfound crane obsession.

Yesterday, we were actually worried when they didn’t make a peep during the 10 inches of snow we received overnight.  Instead, they were huddled near the water looking mighty cold.  “Do birds feel the cold?” we wondered.  “Where do they go when it snows?”  “Why don’t they stay in the warmer climates year round?”  “Don’t they think the whole migration thing is a lot of work for not much reward?”  The cranes have raised a lot of questions.

Sandhill cranes make an intimidating whooshing sound when they fly, which makes sense, as their wingspan is 78 inches.  They are almost 50 inches tall and while they don’t weigh a lot, at around 15 pounds, they are big birds.  They are omnivorous, eating insects and plants, but they have been known to damage crops making them the enemy of many farmers.  The cranes aren’t endangered, though certain species suffered a rapid decline over the past decades.  The Greater Sandhill Cranes are now experiencing a comeback due to habitat (wetlands and plains) preservation, restoration and cooperation by farmers.

If you’d like to hear them, or learn more, The International Crane Foundation has a great website with audio files and pictures.  http://www.savingcranes.org/sandhill-crane.html.  There are also great pictures of the cranes near our house on the Swaner Eco-Center website www.swanerecocenter.org.

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About Laurie Noble

As head of her own corporate communications and public relations company, Laurie Carter Noble has had extensive experience in creating successful marketing strategies. She has drawn on this expertise in her real estate career and has found it invaluable in helping clients create successful marketing strategies for selling their homes. Giving clients marketing plans targeted to their specific needs and highlighting the unique qualities of their homes is one of the services Laurie provides to those who list their homes with her. Having moved a family several times herself, with the help of her husband Richard, she is aware of the special needs of the buyer relocating to a new home. Through careful research and a thorough knowledge of the Boston market, Laurie successfully matches prospective buyers to a home suited to their needs. Her guidance is available through every aspect of the purchasing transaction, whether it is helping to secure financing, having the home inspected or making temporary housing arrangements, should that be required. With her husband, Richard, Laurie has developed and managed a series of properties. She has extensive experiences dealing with investment properties and using them effectively to create income. A cum laude graduate of Syracuse University, Laurie received her B.A. in English Literature and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She also holds an M.S. in Secondary Education and an M.A. in English from Villanova University. A fluent speaker of German, Laurie studied German literature at the Yale University Graduate School and at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She also is fluent in French, which she studied at the University of Strasbourg, France. For many years she was a member of the English Department at Villanova University. Laurie is committed to serving the community in which she lives. She has done pro bono work for agencies that work for social justice in Boston. Issues of women's and children's welfare are of particular concern to her and she has written on those issues for newspapers and magazines in the Boston area. She is a tour guide for the Mayo House, a historic house owned by the Chatham Conservation Society and is also a pro bono marketing consultant for the Harwich Junior Theater, promoting artistic opportunities for children all over Cape Cod. Recently Laurie completed a major marketing portfolio, pro bono, for COGdesign, a non-profit Boston based organization dedicated to helping urban communities create beautiful inner city green spaces. While a member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, she was active in the Women’s Network and served on the Education Committee. She has lived in Boston’s Back Bay for almost 20 years and is a member of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay. Laurie and Richard have two daughters.
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3 Responses to Animal of the Week: What is a Sandhill Crane?

  1. Karen Terzian says:

    thanks for the comments neighbor Katie. i too used to be driven nuts (sometimes too early in a.m.) by the Greater Sandhill Cranes and have come to love them and their calling. They are big aren’t they?

  2. Pingback: Streaming Video of the Week: The Alpaca Cam! So Cute & Furry! | This Green Earth

  3. Pingback: Streaming Video of the Week! Crane Cam! Watch the Crane on Her Nest! | This Green Earth

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