Sandhill Crane Nest Camera Highlights
Check out these short highlight videos taken from our live Nest Camera. As new highlight videos are created, they will be added to the top of this page.
Rocky & Athena: 2021 Nesting Journey
The 2021 nesting journey of Rocky and Athena, the stars of the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition’s Sandhill Crane Nest Camera. Rocky and Athena are Greater Sandhill Cranes nesting in northwest Colorado. They had a successful nesting season in 2021, starting with building their nest and laying 2 eggs and ending with one chick hatching and the whole family leaving the nest. Experience the thrilling moments and routine lives of Rocky and Athena on their nest, such as switching places, napping, raccoon encounters, mink encounters, geese hanging out near the nest, and hatching of their chick.
Day Old Sandhill Crane Chick in Nest
This chick hatched the day before, and just survived its first night outside the egg. The mother crane continues to incubate the other egg while the chick sits beside her. As the mother stands up to turn the egg in the nest, the chick enjoys its first morning wiggling around the nest.
A Sandhill Crane Chick’s First Night After Hatching
This Sandhill Crane chick just hatched earlier in the day, and it’s keeping warm underneath the mother who is still incubating the other egg. Watch the chick wiggle around in the nest on his very first night after hatching.
Newly Hatched Chick Revealed as Parents Switch Off on the Nest
This recently hatched Sandhill Crane chick and egg are revealed as the father stands up in the nest to switch off incubating duties with the female. The chick hatched only a few hours ago, but it is wiggling around in the nest as the mother turns the other egg that hasn’t yet hatched.
Sandhill Crane Day Old Chick is Revealed as the Mother Stands Up in Nest
This Greater Sandhill Crane chick just hatched the day before! The mother stands up in her nest, revealing the chick who is spreading its little wings. Sandhill Crane chicks are precocial- they can see, are covered in down feathers, and are able to stand within several hours of hatching. The second egg and egg shell of this chick are also in the nest.
Mink Launches Itself onto the Back of an Incubating Sandhill Crane
This mink sneaks up to an incubating Sandhill Crane and jumps right onto its back! The crane jumps and both crane and mink go flying into the air!
A Day in the Life of Incubating Sandhill Cranes
Learn what a typical day looks like for incubating Greater Sandhill Cranes. Sandhill Crane pairs take turns incubating the eggs in their nests for about 30 days. While incubating, the cranes sleep, preen, fix their nests, move around nesting material with their beaks, and stand up periodically to preen and turn the eggs. During the day, both parents share incubation duties, so the parent cranes trade places every few hours, often unison calling in the process.
Colorado Sandhill Crane Nest Survives Unbelievable Nighttime Encounter with a Mink
This Colorado Greater Sandhill Crane mama encounters an American mink while she’s incubating the eggs in her nest. Unfortunately, she doesn’t realize this curious mink has gotten into her nest and is under her feet! The mink maneuvers around the nest, touches the eggs, and even rolls one! The crane can’t see or hear the mink due to the dark. Luckily, the crane prevails- she eventually finds the mink and uses her beak to jab at the mink and scare it away.
Raccoon Comes Dangerously Close to Getting Eggs on Sandhill Crane Nest
A raccoon tries to strike at the eggs in this Sandhill Crane nest and almost gets to them. The female Sandhill Crane strikes at the raccoon and the raccoon leaves, crossing the water to join two other raccoons and wander off.
Night Preening and Tending of Eggs in Sandhill Crane Nest
Several times during the night, Sandhill Cranes need to tend to their eggs by standing up and turning them over. They also use this time to preen their feathers.
Geese with Goslings Swim by Crane Nest
As the Sandhill Crane sits on his nest, two geese with four goslings swim by.
Sandhill Crane Scares off Goose that Ventures Near Nest
This Canada goose ventures close to a Sandhill Crane nest with two eggs then gets chased away.
Mama Crane Wakes Up With the Sounds of the Wetland
Listen to the sounds of this wetland as the Mama Sandhill Crane wakes up in the morning, fixes some feathers and turns her eggs.
Turning the Eggs in a Sandhill Crane Nest
While incubating, Sandhill Cranes will periodically stand up, turn the eggs in their nest, preen, and fix the nest material. Cranes and other birds will rotate their eggs every so often to maintain proper temperature and embryonic development inside the egg.
Sandhill Crane Strikes Down Raccoon that Gets Too Close to Nest
This female Sandhill Crane won’t let anything get to her eggs in the nest she is incubating. Watch this Sandhill Crane thrust her bill and strike the raccoon that comes too close to her nest.
Changing of the Guard: Sandhill Cranes Switch Incubating Duties on Their Nest
Both parents of Sandhill Cranes take turns incubating their eggs and switch off several times throughout the day. When switching places, cranes often announce their switch with a unison call.
Sandhill Crane vs Raccoon
How a sandhill crane reacts when a raccoon comes too close to its nest.
The Laying of a Sandhill Crane Egg
Have you ever seen a sandhill crane lay an egg? Well now you can watch the process of a crane laying her second egg in her nest!
The First Sandhill Crane egg is Laid
This Sandhill Crane just laid the first egg in her nest within the last few hours. As she stands up, you can see the egg that she is already starting to incubate.
Sandhill Crane Nest Building
Watch this short clip of a Greater Sandhill Crane pair building their nest in Northwest Colorado. Both parents help to build the nest using material they find right by the nest.
Sandhill Crane Copulation
The act of copulation is quick for Sandhill Cranes like for other birds. The female is the one spreading her wings while the male mounts.
Sandhill Crane Unison Calling
Sandhill Crane pairs give unison calls for a variety of reasons. When calling, the male will point his neck and bill straight up to the sky and will call singularly while the female responds with two notes and points the bill more horizontally.
Sandhill Crane Threat Displays
Two different pairs are vying for territory. Watch as the cranes exhibit a rustle threat, crouch threat, and unison call.
Sandhill Cranes Waking up from their Night Roost
A pair of Sandhill Cranes wakes up from their night roost one cold April morning in Northwest Colorado. They spend time preening their feathers and calling before walking off.
All Nest Camera videos © 2021 Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition. All rights reserved.