Sandhill Cranes are going two-by-two.
I spotted these two at a local elementary school as kids were getting out in the afternoon. They don’t care about people being near.
Sandhill cranes are almost four feet tall – taller than many children.
They have a distinctive red patch of bare skin on top of their heads, feathers of a soft gray color, and pretty red-gold eyes.
Two subspecies of sandhill crane occur in Florida. The Florida sandhill crane (G. c. pratensis), numbering 4,000 to 5,000, is a non-migratory year-round breeding resident. They are joined every winter by 25,000 migratory greater sandhill cranes (G. c. tabida), the larger of the two subspecies. The greater sandhill crane winters in Florida but nests in the Great Lakes region.
There is a small wetland adjacent to this school. It may be home for these two. I think they are resident birds. In this area north of the St. Lucie River and near the Savannas, In Stuart, Jensen Beach and Port St. Lucie, I see Sandhill Cranes all year, with chicks following them around in spring.
Sandhill Cranes mate for life.
Sandhill Cranes are omnivorous, eating insects and larvae, snails, amphibians and reptiles, small mammals, seeds, berries and tubers.