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Sandhill Crane: Antigone canadensis

Over the past couple of years, we have been fortunate to observe Sandhill Cranes at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, which borders New Jersey and New York. We have seen their nest and eggs and this year, there are two pairs, the second believed to be the juvenilles.

It has recently been reported that one of the Sandhills was limping. This morning, I did in fact observe one of them carrying on with a heavy limp. I’m not sure how well it can survive with the limp, especially with the colder weather approaching, so I decided to write this post.


sandhill cranes pair
sandhill crane rustic pix

Sandhill Cranes are abundant in the Great Plains, where they make their migratory stopover. Sightings are considered rare in New Jersey, but possible. They are more commonly spotted in South Jersey in Cape May, which is the “birding capital” of New Jersey.

sandhill crane
sandhill crane standing tall

Interesting Facts about Sandhill Cranes

  • Sandhill Cranes mate for life, which can be over two decades
  • Considered elegant, they are inspiring to cultures worldwide
  • Dancing skills during courting involve wing stretches, head pumping, bows and leaps into the air
  • Their call is quite impressive and unforgettable, a product of their anatomy

The Sandhill Crane is a heavily-bodied bird with long legs and neck. Coloration is mostly gray with some warm tan batches. They have a beautiful crimson crown, long black beak and yellow eyes.


sandhill crane bad leg

This is the Sandhill Crane with the bad leg

All photos were taken today at the WRNWR.  Here’s a compilation video that I put together – you can share with your friends!

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