The featured bird for November is the Sandhill Crane.
The Sandhill Crane stands out in looks, sounds, and behavior. It has a striking red crown on a grey and often copper body with a big “bustle” of longer feathers a the back – almost like an ostrich. It makes a deep, rolling, trumpeting sound – even when flying. Especially during mating season, it’s known for its impressive dance moves – even in the air.
Species: Antigone canadensis
Length: 47.2 in (120 cm)
Weight: 119.9-172.8 oz (3400-4900 g)
Wingspan: 78.7 in (200 cm)
Sandhill Cranes live in the USA, Canada, and up into Siberia. One of their main habitats is on the edge of Nebraska’s Sanhills along the Platte River. In the winter, most migrate down south with a substantial number staying in Paynes Prairie State Park outside Gainesville, Florida.
Florida and Cuba also have year-round Sandhill Crane populations. While the Sandhill Crane is seen frequently outside Tampa and Sarasota, they seem to be one of the birds that don’t make it over to the Pinellas Peninsula (much). At least I’ve never seen one roaming around St. Pete.