Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sandhill Crane remains at Marathon dump (December edition)

For at least six weeks, a Sandhill Crane has been present at the Town of Marathon dump on Penn Lake Road. It can often be seen foraging through household trash in very close quarters with Common Ravens, American Crows, Herring and Glaucous Gulls and Bald Eagles.

According to Tacha et al.'s (1992) synthesis, the diet includes berries and small mammals, nestling birds, snails, insects, and cultivated grains (wheat, corn, barley sorghum) when available. The authors don't reference the scavenging behaviour we've observed here.

Today, I observed the bird take off, circle and then land and after I approached to within 50 m. It appeared healthy and strong and we continue to wonder why this bird didn't migrate with the southbound flocks that passed through in September.

[click on images to enlarge]

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