Sunday, May 2, 2010

Followup on historic Sandhill Crane breeding activity in east central Illinois

Sharon and I were heading east from Urbana, IL, on I-74 towards Indiana when we decided to take a detour at Danville, IL, to see if we could locate the Sandhill Crane pair at Heron County Park. We weren't disappointed!

When we got to Heron Park, we stumbled onto Heron Park regulars Bob Schifo, Jessica Runner, and Bud Lewsader. They were there for the monthly Middlefork Audubon Society birdwalk on the boardwalk. Bob Schifo immediately pointed us to an adult Bald Eagle flying off in the distance to the east. Very cool!

As the Middlefork Audubon group entered the boardwalk at the east entrance to look for Soras, we started at the west entrance. Sharon immediately located the Sandhills, camoflauged by some cattails near the boardwalk entrance. I went over to Bob's birdwalk group and told them about the Sandhills. Eventually everyone in the birdwalk group got good looks as the cranes moved out onto the open shallows of Heron Pond. Some folks even got to watch a crane break open a goose egg, eat the protein rich contents, and then toss the shell fragments into the pond.

It was really fascinating to watch the Sandhill Crane pair interact. It was great to witness a truly historic event...Sandhill Cranes *trying* to nest in east central Illinois for the first time in 140 years!!!

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