Just another WordPress.com weblog about Nature and Wildlife

Today I am wrapping up this series of posts about the Sand Hill Cranes at Tennessee’s Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge near Dayton, TN.  I took these pictures on December 24, 2011.  There were nearly a thousand of the cranes there at the refuge.  The refuge has a series of open grassy pastures, planted corn fields with drying corn on the stalks, and a small lake.  There is a viewing platform where visitors are allowed to watch the cranes.  The cranes roam , graze, and fly  freely.  During crane season (Winter and early Spring), visitors must stay at the platform.  There is a small parking lot and no services except for two construction-type portable restrooms.  There is no admission fee or parking charge.  Dayton is fairly close to the refuge so visitors can find places to stay or eat there in town.  Chattanooga is about 40 miles away as well.

The cranes are huge!  Several flew right over the viewing platform.  When in flight, the cranes are similar to the Great Blue Herons.  The Sand-Hill Cranes migrate from Northern U.S. and Canada to the Southern states where it is warmer.  Because these cranes naturally came around the Tennessee River and Dayton area fields, the State of Tennessee decided to create a refuge where the cranes could stay for the Winter if they wanted to do so.  Corn is planted  on site to help feed these grain and plant eating birds.  Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture.  Enjoy!

Comments on: "Sand-Hill Cranes in Flight at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge" (8)

  1. TexWisGirl said:

    that photo of the 3 in flight in the top corner is just great! shows the beautiful coloration.

    • Hi Texwisgirl, Yes, it does show the colors that these big birds do have. They are mostly grey but do have some fairly buff-gold overtones. Have an excellent day tomorrow and thanks again for your great comments here. I so appreciate it!

  2. Those are some impressive birds!!!! Of course I have never seen one…

    • Hi Ginny, They are really impressive and big! Amazingly, we just heard cranes flying overhead in the distance just a few moments ago at our house while we were out on our porch. Did not see any but we may see some tomorrow if we are lucky. They are migrating South. Have a super good day tomorrow!

  3. You got some very nice wing shots of those big guys! What a treat that must be to see so many of them!

    • Hi Montucky, Thank you! It was easier to take pictures of the cranes when flying than it is to take pictures of many other birds – big target. Ha! But seriously, they are large and flew pretty slowly and low to the ground where I was at. Have a really nice day tomorrow!

  4. Great post on the Sandhill Cranes. They are beautiful looking birds. It would be a treat to see a lot of them.

  5. Beautiufl photos! I love watching them in flight. But my favorte part is how they position their legs and wings as they are preparing to land. Hopefully you got to see that as well when you were there.

    By the way, the birds in my dusk photo are canadian geese.

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