Click here to hear the amazing, unforgettable sounds of Sandhill Cranes. (Scroll down a bit to the “typical voice” section.) If you want as close to the real experience of hearing a massive flock of Sandhills, taking off at dawn, plug earphones into your computer and turn the volume up. Full blast. Or run the sound bite through a surround-sound system as high as you can crank it. There—you’re getting close!
In mid-December, 2010, our team was canvassing our area for the Salida Christmas Bird Count. Traveling a back road that overlooked an agricultural
field, we spotted a large bird amidst the grazing cattle. Without really thinking hard, one of us commented,
“Looks like another Great Blue Heron down there.” As the person in charge of the checklist, I nodded and added another stroke by GBHE on the list—#3 for the day. Pretty good. Well, it was a good thing that the road took us down past the field. As we drove past the large bird, the person in the shotgun position hollered “Whoa!!!!! Sandhill!!!!” We screeched to a halt, and clambered out of the car to take photos, and we called the DOW wildlife manager involved with the CBC. What an extraordinary find—a lone Sandhill Crane in a mountain count on December 18!