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Sandhill crane chick eating a small snake with a watchful parent in the background. Actually, both parents kept a close eye on this chick to ensure it didn’t choke to death trying to swallow that meal. Numerous times, they pulled the snake out of the chick’s mouth because it was having difficulties. However, over the course of about five minutes, chick and parents managed to get that big meal into baby’s belly. Shortly after that, baby took a nap.

Location: Florida
500mm Lens

Please don’t feed sandhill cranes, it’s extremely detrimental to the cranes and creates a safety hazard for motorists. In fact, it’s unlawful in the state of Florida to feed sandhill cranes. Chicks full of crackers, bread, corn, dog food, etc. can starve to death and/or become too weak to keep up with their parents or avoid predators…they need the high fat/protein provided by insects and other natural foods. Furthermore, cranes and any chicks that survive are habituated to cars, greatly increasing their chance of getting hit by fast-moving traffic outside the community where they were fed…causing a hazardous condition for motorists and other citizens. I’ve seen numerous habituated cranes killed by traffic and/or displaying auto-related injuries.

Here’s a link to the Florida Fish and Wildlife website explaining the reasons and the law in more detail (help me spread the word):

Florida Fish & Wildlife

Location: Florida, USA
500mm Lens

Description ADULT Has mainly blue-gray plumage, palest on face. Note red crown and variable rufous feathering on wings. Legs and daggerlike bill are dark. JUVENILE Has variably blue-gray and rufous plumage, but typically rufous predominates on head, neck, and back. Bill is dull pink and red on crown is absent.

Dimensions Length: 34-48" (86-122 cm); Wngspn: 6’ 8" (2 m)

Endangered Status The Mississippi Sandhill Crane, a subspecies of the Sandhill Crane, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Mississippi. Apparently the Sandhill Crane was always more numerous than the larger Whooping Crane, and the fact that it breeds mostly in the remote Arctic has saved it from the fate of its relative. But it is sensitive to human disturbance, and the draining of marshes has reduced nesting populations in the United States. The Mississippi subspecies declined in the mid-20th century when its preferred savannah habitat was planted over with slash pines. Commercial and residential development, the building of highways, pollution, and other factors have caused further deterioration to the habitat. Most of the current crane population and its habitat are protected in the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. The Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge to the southeast may be able to sustain a second population of cranes.

Habitat Very locally common. Vast majority of population nests on remote tundra or expansive northern wetlands, and winters in wetland areas with adjacent farmland in southern U.S. and Mexico. Small population (4,000-5,000 birds) is resident in Florida, numbers boosted in winter by migrants.

Observation Tips At traditional migration staging areas and winter roosts, the massive numbers of Sandhill Cranes provide one of the greatest wildlife spectacles.

Range Alaska, Eastern Canada, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Southeast, Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes, California, Florida, Texas, New England, Western Canada, Southwest, Northwest

Discussion Large and almost unmistakable bird with a stately posture and gait. Confusion with Great Blue Heron is possible, but note differences in plumage, structure, and head markings. Outside breeding season, Sandhill is invariably seen in large flocks, whereas Great Blue is usually solitary. In flight, Sandhill holds head and neck outstretched, while Great Blue has neck hunched into an “S” shape. Seen from below in flight, note mainly pale flight feathers. Arctic nesters are appreciably smaller and shorter-billed than southern breeders. Sexes are similar.

Tags

bird, birds, cute, cute animals, sandhill crane, sandhill cranes, baby, animal, chick, snake, walking, running, watchful, eating, food, fed, diet, healthy, sandhill, crane, cranes, sand, hill, parents, florida, wildlife, nature, nature lover, william c gladish, bill gladish, gladish

I started out as an artist, became a pilot, and ended up where I am now: nature photographer and educator. Being a pilot allowed me to observe the Earth and humanity’s impact on it from 30,000 feet for many years. It allowed me to experience different cultures and to see the world through many lenses.

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Comments

  • labaker
    labakerover 2 years ago

    great title and shot, glad you care as much as I do about wildlife.

  • thank you :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • Robbie Knight
    Robbie Knightover 2 years ago

    This is a great capture. The legs on the youngster, and bill of the adult imply motion and I can almost see what you describe as he chokes down lunch…… Thanks for sharing.

  • thank you :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • Alinka
    Alinkaover 2 years ago

    Awesome shot, great info also.

  • thank you :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • jesika
    jesikaover 2 years ago

    Superb image and commentary.
    j

  • thank you :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • Themis
    Themisover 2 years ago

    :-) Great story through a single image, and no wonder the little one took a nap afterwards!

  • thank you :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • jozi1
    jozi1over 2 years ago

    Awesome shot :)

  • thank you :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • Rob Lavoie
    Rob Lavoieover 2 years ago

    excellent shot

  • thank you :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesover 2 years ago


    2012/04/16 1 Image per 24hrs
    Stunning work, a winner!

  • lcretyi
    lcretyiover 2 years ago

    April-17-2012

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  • thank you :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • lcretyi
    lcretyiover 2 years ago

    April-17-2012


    Click Banner to see all Features

  • thank you :-)

    – William C. Gladish

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