A rare sight in Southern Ontario
Most likely they were resting on their way to northern Ontario.
Less likely for the Sandhill Cranes to have a nest somewhere in the vicinity.
Some interesting facts about the Sandhill Cranes:
- Sandhill Cranes are thought to be the oldest surviving species of bird
- These mysterious birds are very adaptable, intelligent and display complex social behaviours
During the 40 minutes-long encounter I had hoped to witness their courtship dance ritual, but no such luck
- Sandhill Cranes are aggressive and will use their sharp claws or piercing bill to confront threats
- These large wading birds soar at high altitudes of 4,000 to 5,000 feet. Some species were recorded flying up to 20,000 feet during migration
Still surprised the gracious pair didn’t fly away, as the Sandhill Cranes are considered some of the wariest birds in the wilderness. The tactics here were to park the car at a fair distance, turn off the engine to eliminate any vibrations and reduce the overall disturbance, and photograph silently through the opened window. Still, I have seen them flinch when triggering the shutter for the first time.
Spotted and photographed on a cloudy day, snowing lightly, in an agricultural field in Hilton Hills on April 9th.
Technical specifications: 1/125s, f9.5, ISO 100, 1000mm
See video footage made during the following year encounter with the same pair, at the same time, in the same location: Rendez-vous with the Sandhill Cranes in Ontario