Pennsylvania counts! We have so many sandhill cranes that we’re now part of US Fish and Wildlife’s eastern Fall Crane Survey.
Sandhill cranes are much more common out west but the eastern population has grown to 60,000 birds. They used to be rare in Pennsylvania where our first crane was noted in the late 1980’s, first breeding was recorded in 1993 in Lawrence County, and the first photograph of a nest was in 2009. Sandhills have now been spotted in more 30 Pennsylvania counties — nearly half the state!
This is your opportunity to make history. Put your name, location, count, date and time on record. It’s significant if you visit a likely crane place and don’t find any. Yes, even ZERO counts.
Here are links and tips on what, where, when and how from the PABIRDS announcement by Lisa Williams, PGC:
- What to count. Tips on what a crane looks like and how to recognize a juvenile crane. (Is it flying? Cranes keep their necks and legs stretched out when they fly.)
- Where to count: Look for cranes in wetlands and nearby agricultural settings. Cranes often forage in shallows and mud flats along lakes, ponds, and swamps or in nearby agricultural fields and pastures, but they can be found in a variety of odd sites during migration. (Pittsburgh birders: visit Lawrence, Mercer, Crawford counties)
- When: Sunday, October 27 through Saturday, November 2. Ideal dates are October 29-31. Counts are best conducted just after sunrise or just before sunset when birds are concentrated in their roost sites. (It’s easier to find cranes at that time of day, anyway.)
- How to count and how to submit your data.
After you practice on cranes, you’re ready to count crows. 😉
(photo by Steve Gosser)