Cantankerous Cranes~

Crane Family CCrane Family ACrane Faimly B
These were taken across the street from our house on April 30, when there were still TWO chicks.
Today there is only one chick remaining.
Picture credit: Walkingfox


A story in my email this morning reflects an ongoing situation that makes those of us who love the Sandhill Cranes  more than just a little edgy.

For the past two months, there have been stories on the news of our Sandhill Cranes being in dangerous places during this current breeding season.

Cranes don’t really seem to be aware of, or even slightly concerned with, their own safety or well-being.

They literally bring traffic to a standstill, where ever they happen to be,  when they decide to cross a road, or gasp, even a four lane highway in search of another bite of their chosen food.

Recently a pair had taken up residence along a very busy Brevard County road and played havoc daily with the busy traffic.

Kind and concerned people tried so hard to protect them from harm,  but in the end one was injured and later died.

It’s mate remained near by,  then disappeared for a few days and is now back again, near the site of the tragic accident.

Sandhill Cranes mate for life, will this one seek a new wife, that is yet to be determined.

The Cranes, not understanding any of this Human interaction on their behalf,  can often turn on good Samaritans and then pick at them and/or their cars in retaliation for being interfered with while searching for food.

Cranes are quite well known to become fiercesome,  if their chicks are threatened by Humans or other.

Some FWS officers have learned this while trying to corral them in the past.

Here in Lake County, we have our own Crane story.

A pair of  Sandhill Cranes had been  showing off their family of two chicks for many days just across the street in the open field from our house and then one day, one chick went missing.

We do not know if it was killed by a car or a predator, which ever the case may be, now the little family only has one chick.

It is rare to see a family of four out here in the Countryside,  the norm is one set of parents and one chick.

Today as they made their daily appearance,  I noticed that the remaining chick is now nearly full grown and breathed a deep sigh of relief.

It will most likely make it now and one day return here and start its own family.

It is one of nearly 4,000 local or resident Sandhill Cranes, and also a Threatened Species.

We also have a plethora of snow birds, whose numbers are strong and stable.

It was this latest story that compelled me to write today about this continual and dangerous Crane behavior.

When Cranes set up their homes, they apparently do not take traffic into consideration.

It would seem that like our resident Black Bears who also “follow the food,”   the Cranes, frequently do not fare much better in places that used to belong solely to them.

Food sources for the Black Bears are often found in trash or garages, both very dangerous places for a Bear to be caught.

For the Cranes,  the food is frequently found in the center of busy four lane traffic.

The search for a daily meal,  can prove fatal for any or all of these little families.

So, the residents in Brevard County  are pondering whether to pave or brick in , the center divided areas along their busy roads, where the hapless Cranes have chosen to dine.

Will it be approved?

If it is,  it may save a few lives, but the sad thing is that the Cantankerous Cranes will likely move on to another place,  just as lethal,  where those favorite meals live and are plentiful.

All kinds of good suggestions have been made, like warning signs,  speed bumps, even volunteers to help the Cranes across the busy roads.

I wish these concerned fellow Crane lovers  well and hope that something will be done to change the current situation.

But, the Crane drama of traffic and danger, is not just in town,  where cars are whizzing by at a fast pace.

Often when we drive across County Road 42, near us here in Lake County, on our way into civilization, we pass Cranes either on, or too near,  the very busy road.

Annoyingly, they all seem quite oblivious to the danger, the imminent peril  that they are in and it worries all of us who love them and want to see them here forever.

When buying our house here nearly ten years ago, the Cranes flying over head just at the moment we came inside and looked out the front window, cemented the deal.

The Sandhill Cranes chose this house for us and we love them and it for this reason.

This cantankerous time for the Cranes is not long-lived,  only a couple of months, so here is hoping that we smart Humans can come up with a way to keep them safe,  while they are bringing up baby!


Places to learn more:

Crane-crossing crisis hard to solve

Sandhill cranes still on traffic rampage

Cranes continue to disrupt Melbourne traffic

Cranes disrupt traffic, peck at cars in Melbourne

Gallery: Sandhill cranes back to disrupting traffic

Injured sandhill crane in Melbourne dies

Sandhill crane returns after death of mate




7 thoughts on “Cantankerous Cranes~

  1. It is that season isn’t it! Why do some birds and animals insist on raising their families in such dangerous places? – sadly, we’ve taken over too much of their habitat, I guess. We see images every year of birds building their nests in some really crazy-looking places … such as in traffic lights, or inches away from railway lines! Just recently we have seen some new warning signs go up on a very busy road near us warning drivers of deer crossing their path. I hope something can be worked out for the cranes too 🙂

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