One of the highlights of this Easter weekend was spotting five Sandhill cranes. They were observed just north of Inglewood as they repeatedly circled in their efforts to catch the high thermals, while heading north.
Could this quintet be part of the Lake Erie (long point) winter population that is slowly recolonizing their historical breeding grounds? Perhaps. As First Nation people of Manitoulin Island have recently recorded and experienced a notable surge in their population of these noisy ornithological ballerinas.
This majestic 4’ tall, red browed bird can be distinguished from other flying leviathans by their outstretched necks and legs. They have a rather peculiar wing movement with a slow downward beat that is followed by a quick up-beat movement. This can be helpful in identifying the cranes while they are in flight.
Hopefully, these relatively long lived aeronauts will soon choose parts of the headwater hills as an ideal staging area or nesting location. After all, they are a unique natural wonder and we should do all we can to encourage preservation of their preferred habitats.