Saturday, July 13, 2013

This week's Crops & Clips: Sandhill Cranes in distress

As I have related in earlier posts, the area around our Illinois townhouse is being extensively developed. The surrounding former cornfields that were slowly turning back into prairie have now disappeared. A single 3 acre plot reserved for a future "park" has been freshly graded but contains a large pile of topsoil. This had been removed from the planned home sites about 10 years ago. This dirt pile was stored for use on the lawns of the planned community of 36 buildings, each housing 4 to 6 living units. 

The economic downturn halted all construction after only 7 buildings were completed. Now the remaining 29 are in various stages of completion; some of the units are finished and occupied.

While the fields were mowed once or twice a year to comply with local codes, the pile of topsoil was allowed to accumulate high weeds and shrubs. It was home to Song, Vesper and Savannah Sparrows and a pair of Eastern Meadowlarks. After returning from our Arizona trip two weeks ago I noticed that a pair of Sandhill Cranes were foraging and loafing on and in the immediate area of the topsoil pile.

One morning only a few days later I heard loud and urgent double calls as the two cranes bugled in turn from the top of the mound. I was not entirely sure of the cause of their agitation, but a slice of dirt had just been removed from the left side of the mound. Perhaps it disturbed or destroyed a nest or young bird. 

Sandhill Cranes 20130701

These photos were taken from the front sidewalk of our condo.  As a bulldozer arrived for another load the cranes flew off and I have not seen them since.

Sandhill Crane 2-20130701

I do not expect to be filing many more new images in my FLICKR "Illinois Yard Birds" set.

Sandhill Crane 20130701

My video clip documents the cranes' urgent calls. 




Shared in The Bird D'Pot

16 comments:

  1. It is sad to see so many birds loosing their habitats.I wonder just how many new housing developments are necessary. Neat video.

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  2. aww. that's a shame, isn't it...

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  3. Those cranes look as if they are taking a desperate stand! Something similar happened at a new housing estate near my school. As bulldozers rolled in, hundreds and hundreds of cockatoos manned the wires on the main road and more hundreds dive bombed incoming work utes! It was an amazing, scary sight!

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  4. This is good - but not pleasing - post. We have very large house plots in Australia and at one time the house did not fill these up, so that gardens and yards filled in the space - this at least provided some habitat. Now the blocks are the same size, but the houses go all the way to the edge - and people wonder why there are no birds around the new developments!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  5. The cranes are beautiful. So sad about all the birds loosing their habitat.

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  6. How very sad. New developments are jumping up everywhere and you always wonder about the wildlife that are being displaced.

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  7. Awwww, poor things. It makes all of us bird lovers so sad. And thanks for the tip on how to 'warm up' the bunting photos. I even found one colored exactly like the ones that came from my camera...in the new Reader's Digest Bird Guide. I am so pleased that so many like you are willing to help out when needed.

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  8. How horrible for the poor birds! I'm sure they must have had a nest, otherwise they would have left the area.

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  9. It's heartbreaking to see and hear them calling in confusion. They are so beautiful.

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  10. Such a shame for the cranes in obvious distress from those calls. Let's hope they managed to lead the young away to a safer place.

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  11. so sad. :( But I really hope they found a better place where they can live. They are a beautiful species.

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  12. great to have seen the cranes; I hope they have found a good spot to settle

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  13. Distressing sight and sounds indeed.

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  14. Those poor cranes seem to be very upset indeed. One must be really heartless to take a bulldozer to a nesting site.

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  15. I just read all of your displaced bird series (I'm catching up after our roadtrip and a computer breakdown)....the whole thing is so sad to think about, but this is the saddest. One hopes the goldfinch and songbirds are able to relocate without too much problem, but for these poor sandhills...I am so sorry for the destruction of their habitat.

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