Bill Cox captured this video of calling cranes in his backyard in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They are obviously excited about the Yampa Valley Crane Festival.
Greater Sandhill Cranes are wonderful parents. They share duties during incubation and chick/colt rearing. They are very protective of their nesting territory and their family. Cranes have 3 weapons that they use to fend off predators:
- A strong dagger-like beak which can strike with great accuracy
- Sharp razor-like claws
- Strong wings which can deliver a powerful blow
Judy Lehmberg, a former college biology teacher turned videographer, wrote an article for CBS Sunday Morning on September 30, 2019 about how a crane pair protected their chicks from an approaching black bear in Yellowstone National Park. Here’s her video of the encounter:
Janet Feigelson welcomed the cranes back to the Yampa Valley on March 26, 2018. Here’s a video of her “conversation” with the cranes:
One of the most identifiable crane calls is a Unison Call performed by a pair of cranes standing side by side. The male crane flips his head up and produces a single call. The female crane responds by raising her head at a 45 degree angle and emitting 2-3 shorter, higher pitched calls. This call reinforces the pair bond, helps to defend a territory and is used in aggressive encounters.
Annette Zuber captured this wonderful video of a pair of Greater Sandhill Cranes Unison Calling in the Yampa Valley of Northwest Colorado:
Van Graham filmed this close-up of Greater Sandhill Cranes “painting” their feathers with iron-laden mud in preparation for breeding season. The feathers actually become stained with the mud:
Mike Mack shared this video of the cranes he sighted on March 17, 2018 during the First Crane Sighting Contest: