09.12.21: Family of cranes 

A family of Sandhill Cranes grazes in the wetlands, Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.

A family of Sandhill Cranes grazes in the wetlands, Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.

Sandhill Cranes return to raise family

Tech specs

  • Date/time: Jun 1, 2014 10:02 AM   
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D
  • Lens: EF600mm f/4L IS USM +1.4x 
  • Focal length: 840mm
  • Aperture: f/8
  • Shutter: 1/640 second
  • ISO: 400

I’ve had the good fortune the last few years to spend time watching Sandhill Cranes in the wetlands area of Slate Run Metro Park south of Columbus, Ohio.

An adult pair shows up in early spring. They build a nest, raise their babies during the summer and fall, then disappear for the winter. They show up again in the spring to repeat the process.

Unlike Great Blue Herons or Egrets that fly off when they see a human, the Sandhill Cranes look at me when I approach, determine I’m not a threat, then go about their business. I’ve picked up some nice photos, like this shot of a family of Sandhill Cranes feeding near the water in a wetlands.

Sandhill Cranes mate for life — which can mean 20 years or more —and stay with their mates year-round. Juveniles stick close by their parents for up to 10 months after hatching before heading out on their own.

The adults are about four feet tall (a bit taller than the average Great Blue Heron) with a wingspan of six and a half feet. The feathers are slate gray, although they tend to look a rusty brown. That’s because the birds tend to wipe mud from their bills on their feathers after looking for mud in the wetlands. The bird’s short tail is covered by a bustle of drooping feathers.

Sandhill Cranes mate for life — which can mean 20 years or more —and stay with their mates year-round. 

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