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Birds of the Bible – Cranes II

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) with 2 juveniles by Lee
Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) at Lake Ashton by Lee

Last evening we were with our friends at Lake Ashton in Winter Haven, FL and they gave us a tour of the wildlife there. This time of the year there are numerous Sandhill Crane families around. We saw several young Sandhills as we were being shown around. We took some photos and also got video of two adult Sandhill Cranes giving a duet. Thought that sounded like a good topic for this weeks Birds of the Bible.

The crane is mentioned twice in the Bible and one has to do its migration.

Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 KJV)

The second mention of the Crane has to do with its voice.

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me. (Isaiah 38:14 KJV)

As you will see and hear by the video I took of the two cranes doing their duet, you can hear a bit of “chatter.”

We are lucky here in Central Florida to see the Sandhill Cranes quite frequently and occasionally a Whooping Crane.

Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Nikhil Devasar
Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) by Nikhil Devasa

Around the world there are 15 crane species in the Gruidae Family of the order Gruiformes. The cranes are the Grey Crowned, Black Crowned, Demoiselle, Blue, Wattled, Siberian, Sandhill, Sarus, Brolga, White-naped, Common, Hooded, Whooping, Black-necked, and Red-crowned.

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Cranes live on all continents except Antarctica and South America.

They are opportunistic feeders that change their diet according to the season and their own nutrient requirements. They eat a range of items from suitably sized small rodents, fish, amphibians, and insects, to grain, berries, and plants.

Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) by Nikhil Devasar
Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) by Nikhil Devasar

Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or “dances”. While folklore often states that cranes mate for life, recent scientific research indicates that these birds do change mates over the course of their lifetimes (Hayes 2005), which may last several decades. Cranes construct platform nests in shallow water, and typically lay two eggs at a time. Both parents help to rear the young, which remain with them until the next breeding season.

Some species and populations of cranes migrate over long distances; others do not migrate at all. Cranes are gregarious, forming large flocks where their numbers are sufficient.

See:
Birds of the Bible – Cranes I
Wordless Birds