Shawnee – Sandhill Crane
Received: August 2011
Shawnee and her mate, Menomenee, were received at the World Bird Sanctuary in August, 2011. She had been injured as an adult and was brought in to a rehabilitation facility in Wisconsin for treatment. At the Wisconsin facility she pair bonded with a handsome male Sandhill Crane and they laid eggs which, unfortunately, did not hatch. In 2011 the Wisconsin facility was inundated with injured and orphaned birds due to severe spring storms and tornadoes. They needed to make room for this large influx of injured birds, so their director called WBS to see if we could take in some of their resident birds. In August 2011 two WBS volunteers drove to Wisconsin to pick up sixteen birds. Shawnee and her mate Menomenee were among these birds
Update: Shawnee and Menomenee have been parents for 2 years in a row and have completely raised their young. On October 1, 2015, WBS released the first-ever, captive-hatched Sandhill Crane into the state of Missouri and in 2016 a second one was released.
Species: Sandhill Crane
Latin Name: Grus Canadensis
Description: Adults gray overall; red forehead; white cheeks; long dark pointed bill; long dark legs and a long neck; immature birds have reddish brown upperparts and gray underparts; size varies with subspecies
Sex: male and female look alike; males larger than females
Age: average 7 years; oldest known 21 years
Length: about 47″
Weight: 119.9-172.8 oz.
Habitat: open grasslands, meadows and marshes
Status: least concern
Range: predominantly North America from Canada to Mexico and Cuba, and as far west as Siberia
Behavior: social birds living in pairs or family groups most of the year; during migration form “survival groups” of thousands; raise one brood per year; eggs laid between December and August; both birds build the nest—usually in marshes or bogs, occasionally on dry land; female lays 1-3 oval shaped dull brown eggs with reddish markings; both parents brood the eggs for 29-32 days; chicks are precocial, leaving the nest within 24 hours of hatching; parents brood chicks up to 3 weeks after hatching and continue to feed them with decreasing frequency up to 9-10 months old; chicks remain with parents until 1-2 months before the next clutch is laid
Diet: mainly herbivorous, but will also consume insects, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals and berries
Vocalization: during mating birds throw their heads back and vocalize in what is called “unison calling”; call is a loud trumpeting call that can be heard from a long distance away
- The oldest Sandhill Crane fossil is 2.5 million years old.
- Although these birds are generally listed as “least concern”, three subspecies are “endangered”
- The Cuban, Florida & Mississippi Sandhill Cranes which are non-migratory.