Sandhill Cranes

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.

Sandhill Cranes pair

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

Sandhill Cranes pair

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.

Sandhill Cranes pair

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

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Zulian March 29, 2012 at 7:25 am

Saw one yesterday, March 28th flying over Hilton Falls conservation area (2012)

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Mike Lascut March 29, 2012 at 11:49 am

Hi Anna,
thanks for your comment. Glad to see Sandhill Cranes returning to the Hamilton area.
All the best,

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A. Benoit October 20, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Out on this Sunday drive, we saw about one hundred of the sandhill cranes in a field near Verner, Ontario. What a sight!

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Mike Lascut October 21, 2012 at 7:59 am

Thanks much for reporting the sighting of the Sandhill Cranes. it must have been an amazing sight to see so many in one location. Most likely they were stopping to rest and feed before continuing their fall migration. All the best.

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Tim April 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Saw a pair of Sandhill Cranes last year in Corwhin. The farmer that owned the land didn't know they were cranes but said they had been nesting there for the last 5 or 6 years.No young sited but another pair did show up in late summer.Amazing!

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Mike Lascut April 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Thanks for reporting the Sandhill Cranes sighting. They are indeed wonderful to see them. :)
All the best,

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