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]
- Tacha, T. C., S. A. Nesbitt and P. A. Vohs. 1992. Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/031/articles/introduction