Sandhill Crane – Identification

Q: In early January I heard a very strange sound in the sky. Looking up there was a large (More than 50) flock of birds. In looking closer, I realized they were actually split into two groups, each of which was in a large rotating circle, and the two groups also were rotating in sync. In the mean time, there were two more of these birds flying side by side outside the two rotating groups seemingly provideing direction.

They looked like geese, but the sound was very high pitched as opposed to the deeper “honk” of geese. Got any clue?

A: Ornithologist Georgann Schmalz says they are Sandhill Cranes. They have been migrating through the area for about a month. They spend the winter in south Georgia like the Okefenokee Swamp or Florida. They return north in late February and March to their breeding grounds in the northern Midwest and Canada to Alaska.

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