Sandhill Cranes in the snow in the South Kettle Moraine in Waukesha County Wisconsin on February 25, 2017

While birding in the South Kettle Moraine in Waukesha County the highlight was a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the snow. They looked cold as temperatures were around 20 degrees. I noticed too a good part of the time I observed them they stood on 1 leg. Maybe they don’t particularly care for standing in the snow. Some preening was done but very little. Before I left the area one stuck it’s head under the wing and rested, but left an eye open. A cloudy day with a few flurries on and off with a steady breeze from the northwest bringing in that cold air. Images were taken on February 25, 2017.

The pair...

The pair…the painted ones…

_rrIMG_0005_cr

_rrIMG_0408_cr

_rrIMG_0078_cr

One resting with the eye open...

One resting with the eye open…

_rrIMG_9467_cr

A few snowflakes…

_rrIMG_9487_cr

_rrIMG_9691_cr

Cleaning the snow out of the toes..

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

_rrIMG_9404_cr

_rrIMG_9784_cr

_rrrrrrrrrIMG_9951_cr

_rrIMG_0060_cr

Sandhill Cranes painting themselves in the South Kettle Moraine in Waukesha County Wisconsin on February 22, 2017

I saw a first today in the Southern Kettle Moraine in Waukesha County. Sandhill Cranes painting themselves by preening mud into their feathers. They are known to do this to change their colors to blend in more with their surroundings. It was said by a friend of mine that iron oxide in the mud is a form of dye, they also said they turn gray again after they molt before migrating in the fall, makes perfect sense. Totally amazing to watch so I had to share some of this excitement with others. Images were taken on February 22, 2017.

The pair, preening and painting themselves with mud to change their colors

The pair, preening and painting themselves with mud to change their colors

Getting the mud...

Getting the mud……look at the paint

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Getting the mud

Getting the mud

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening….when doing their backs and even in other places, their large bill is rolling back and forth, in and out…at a pretty good speed

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening away…

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Painting and preening

Getting more mud...

Getting more mud…

The pair

The pair

Look at the paint!

Look at the paint!

Painting and preening away...

Painting and preening away…

In the beginning

Look at that paint job!

Sandhill Cranes in the South Kettle Moraine in Waukesha County on February 19, 2017

I made a quick run out to the South Kettle Moraine this morning and the highlight was a Sandhill Crane off the road. I saw another Sandhill Crane out in a field nearby, there are a few coming in with the warm weather. Another bird to note was a Snow Goose flying high up in a V shape formation of Canada Geese flock heading north. Unseasonably mild temps around 60 degrees with mostly sunny skies. Images were taken on February 19, 2017.

_rrimg_6435_cr

Sandhill Crane

Binomial name: Grus canadensid

Category: Cranes

Size: 46” long, 77” wing span

Weight: 10.6 lb

__rimg_6425_cr

__rimg_6428_cr

Sandhill Cranes in Waukesha County Wisconsin on January 19, 2017

On my way home from doing some birding in Milwaukee County it was a big surprise to see 2 Sandhill Cranes. They were foraging on a hilltop far off the roadway in old hay field on the south end of Waukesha, I stopped for a couple of distant shots. There were a pair of them. Considered rare birds for this time of year at this location. It was a day of fog, never did see the sun, on a few occasions it got brighter. The mild temps of near 40 felt great as we are only in January. The mild temps Images were taken on January 19, 2017.

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane, one of the pair

Sandhill Crane

Binomial name: Grus canadensid

Category: Cranes

Size: 46” long, 77” wing span

Weight: 10.6 lb

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

 

Sandhill Cranes in the South Kettle Moraine in Waukesha County on September 23, 2015

Doing some birding out in the South Kettle Moraine today I came across a pair of adult Sandhill Cranes.  I enjoyed the show of two adults as they walked around, feed, went for water and preened. Turning more gray, they are going into their winter plumage. Soon they will congregate in large numbers at staging areas and then migrate to wintering areas in the southern US and Mexico. Other species to note from today, flocks of Bluebirds, Cedar Waxwings and Killdeer. For the most part a quiet day birding with warm temps, sunny and next to no wind.  Images were taken on September 23, 2015.

_rIMG_0705_cr

_rIMG_0688_cr

_rIMG_0722_cr

_rIMG_0759_cr

_rIMG_0799_cr

Drinking

Drinking

Drinking

Drinking

Drinking

Drinking

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Preening

Getting out those old feathers!

Getting out those old feathers!

Preening

Preening

_rIMG_1055_cr

_rIMG_1156_cr

_rIMG_1194_cr

_rIMG_1219_cr

_rIMG_1232_cr

_rIMG_1233_cr

Sandhill Cranes with colt feeding in the South Kettle Moraine in Waukesha County on August 26, 2015

Doing some birding out in the South Kettle Moraine today I came across this family of Sandhill Cranes. I enjoyed the show of two adults and one colt that is almost adult size now. Soon they will congregate in large numbers at staging areas and then migrate to wintering areas in the southern US and Mexico. Images were taken on August 26, 2015.

_rIMG_8536_cr

Sandhill Crane colt left, Sandhill Crane adult right

___rIMG_8558_cr

___rIMG_8713_cr

_rIMG_8597_cr

___rIMG_8672_cr

___rIMG_8651_cr

____rIMG_8639_cr

____rIMG_8659_cr

_rIMG_8597_cr

___rnewIMG_8626_cr

_rnewIMG_8713_cr

___rnewIMG_8718_cr

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane with colts, South Kettle Moraine Waukesha County WI. Photographs taken on May 19, 2011

Sandhill Cranes with Colts, Waukesha County WI. May 19, 2011

Sandhill Crane

Binomial name: Grus canadensis

Category: Cranes

Size: 46” long, 77” wing span

Weight: 10.6 lb.

Habitat: Sandhill Cranes typically breed, forage and nest in wetlands, grasslands, marshes, bogs and sometimes dry lands. Out of the breeding season they spend more time in deeper water of lakes and ponds where they are more safe from the many predators they have being a ground species.

Diet: Seeds, grains, snails, insects, worms, amphibians, reptiles, nestling birds, small mammals, and sometimes berries. With their long bills the dig for tubers.

Nesting: The nest is constructed of dead plant material such as cattails, burr reeds, sedges and grasses. Later on green plant material is added to the nest. The nest is cup shaped 30”-40” across and 4”-6” high lined with small sticks and twigs. Both adults gather the material, but the female arranges the materials in the construction of the nest to her liking. The male defends the nest during incubation. 1-3 eggs are laid in the nest, both parents incubate the eggs for 30 days, they hatch covered in down. The young leave the nest usually in less than a day. The adults feed the young for the first few weeks and then less and less as they become more independent taking 9 to 10 months.

Cool facts: The Sandhill Cranes is the most common crane in the world. Sandhill Cranes are known by their graceful dancing skills. Within 8 hours of hatching the young are capable of swimming. If a mate dies, a new mate is found and a nest is reused by the new pair.

Sandhill Cranes Colts, Waukesha County WI. May 19, 2011

Sandhill Crane feeding colt, Waukesha County WI. May 19, 2011

Sandhill Crane Colt, Waukesha County WI. May 19, 2011

Sandhill Crane Colt, Waukesha County WI. May 19, 2011

Sandhill Crane Colt, Waukesha County WI. May 19, 2011

Sandhill Crane feeding colt, Waukesha County WI. May 19, 2011

Sandhill Crane Colt stretching, Waukesha County WI. May 19, 2011

Sandhill Crane Colt, Waukesha County WI. May 19, 2011

Sandhill Crane, Waukesha County WI. May 19, 2011