Tuesday, December 14, 2010

From Texas to Tennessee

My oldest son and his family live in Galveston, Texas.  Last week, he called to tell me that he had seen some Sandhill Cranes ---which are wintering in his area.  He was so excited (just like I would have been) --and then sent me some pictures.  AND--of course,  I have to share them with you today.





Of the 15 species of cranes in existence,  Sandhill Cranes are the most abundant and Whooping Cranes are the rarest.  These two are the only crane species in North America,  and both winter in Texas.

As bird species go,  Sandhill Cranes are ancient.  According to the International Crane Foundation,  a crane fossil from Miocene formations thought to be about 10 million years old was found in Nebraska and is structurally identical to the Sandhill crane,  making it the oldest known still surviving bird species.





Male and female cranes look identical, but males are usually larger than females.  Smaller Sandhills average about 6-7 pounds and stand 3 to 3.5 feet tall.  The largest average 10 to 14 pounds and are 4.5 to 5 feet tall.   The lifespan of the Sandhill Crane is up to 20 years.

Thanks Bert for sharing your photos with us today!!!!




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Well,   we don't have Sandhill Cranes in Tennessee,  but we do have lots of birds at our feeders when it snows.  I work hard at keeping enough food out for them --and they really enjoy it.  Sometimes,  there are as many as 30-40 little birds at the feeders during these times.  The one above just shows a few of them.

Birds I saw at the feeders yesterday:  Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers,  Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers,  Carolina Wrens,  Song Sparrows,  Tufted Titmice,  Carolina Chickadees,  White-breasted Nuthatches,  Cardinals,  Bluebirds,  Mourning Doves, House Finches,  Goldfinches, and  a Junco.   Our biggest group this year are the finches.





This cute little Dark-eyed Junco looks like he is burying himself in the snow.   I was excited to see him --since we have so few Juncos here.





AND--here's another new woodpecker at my feeders!!!  This guy is a Hairy Woodpecker. The Hairys look alot like the Downys  but are much larger... Look at his LONG beak.  I was pleased that he came to the suet feeder.




And finally,  here is a new bird I captured at a distance on Sunday morning.  When all of the little birds disappear quickly,  I know that there is a hawk around.  This is the first time I have seen him --and was able to get his picture using my long lens and then cropping it a little.  This beauty is a Red-tailed Hawk --and they are pretty --BUT I don't like them around my feeders!!!!!

Hope you enjoyed seeing some birds from Texas and from Tennessee.  I love seeing all of our birds here --but I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to see a Sandhill Crane in person.  Wow!!!

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I 'must' show you another picture of our pretty snow.. We ended up with from 6-8 inches --so of course,  I took more pictures.  It was EXTREMELY cold though (wind chills below zero),  so we didn't stay outside very long.    The picture above shows two of our wreaths and the holly bushes --all filled with snow!!!

Have a fabulous day --and wherever you are,  stay WARM!!!!
Hugs,

57 comments:

Mildred said...

Thanks to your son for the amazing photos of the cranes.
Your snow is so pretty and I love the variety of birds that frequent your feeders. I've never seen the red tailed hawk; thanks for sharing that picture also.
Your home is so pretty decorated for Christmas and the snow just adds to the beauty!

Valerie said...

Those Cranes sure are beautiful birds. So many birds I know I will probably never see in my life time!

Your snow is beautiful! Just the way I like it!!
We have been hoping for a snow day today - as the snow fell pretty steady last night - but I doubt we will get it. I'll have to get outside and clear the driveway so - we can get to work!

We are at 10 degrees right now with windchill at -2 and it is still snowing. We are also under a Lake Effect Snow warning until tomorrow morning at 6 - (Lake effect snow is so pretty but is what gives us alot of problems - cause we are situated right between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario). The Flakes are gorgeous and big - but if the snow doesn't move on and just stays still - there can be a lot. They are calling for 10 -16 in the persistent bands. but that is the thing with Lake effect. the persistent band might be 2 streets over from me and miss us completely.

Oh well - we shall see!!

stay warm - and don't shovel too much!

Pam said...

Beautiful! We just got a dusting of snow, but it was enough to call off school! Yay! But we're back today. Boo!

Jo said...

Oh those cranes are so huge to me. Thanks to your son for forwarding you the photos and you for sharing them. I love your snow pictures and all the birds at your feeder. What a lovely photo of the Red-tailed hawk. Have a blessed day, my friend. (((hugs))) Jo

Arkansas Patti said...

Oh, I love the Sandhills. That was a neat synchronized photo of the three.
I was visiting my brother and family in a Florida RV campground when one started stalking my SIL by getting in her face as she carried our lunch. He was a real moocher.Scared her, we laughed at his persistance.
I love the Juncos also. Usually have a bunch, this year only one. Hope the rest are on the way.
Since I don't have snow, I am glad for you that you do. Just lovely.

Ruth said...

Those Sandhills are a neat looking bird.I usually see at least a few every year,but mostly as they fly overhead.I like all the action at your feeders.Doesn't the snow just make everything look so beautiful?
Stay warm and enjoy the birds.
Blessings,Ruth

June said...

Those Sandhill Cranes prove a point I have long held: If you are Very Tall, you can carry a LOT more weight without looking fat.

Your snow looks very pretty, and I am glad that it's there and not here, although WHAT i GET IN RETURN IN the trade-off is the WIND!!!

Catherine said...

Snow is pretty for taking photos ~ but ~ that's the only nice thing I can say about snow! :) Haha!

Keep warm Betsy!
xo Catherine

Diane AZ said...

Your son got some beautiful shots of the Sandhill cranes. Like you, I would also love to see one in person. Great pictures of your snow and backyard birds; that hawk looks hungry!

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

Beautiful photos Betsy...this a.m. I'm wanting to make little coats and scarves for all the little birdies...just imagine little red hats, coats and scarves on them!!!

amelia said...

The cranes are so elegant and beautiful!! Your son must feel very privileged to see them and be able to get such amazing pictures.

We have a lot of birds too. We had fourteen inches of snow on the weekend and windchills of -35 last night, I don't know how they survive. It hurts just going out to keep the feeders filled let alone living out there!!!

Tabor said...

Great photos...all...!

Sandra said...

love the junco and the woodpecker. we have the sandhill cranes here, i have never gotten a photo of them, but my friend diane has several times. she is the bird watcher.

Out on the prairie said...

I like the shot of thesandhills leanng together. They come to Grand Island, NE in March and are so thick in the fields they almost look like the corn crop. You have a nice assortment coming to your feeders. There are a couple bird counts to take part in that are fun to see the numbers around you.

From the Kitchen said...

South of us (about 50 miles) in Jasper County, IN is a stopover for Sandhill cranes. They rest there for weeks (different cranes, of course) on their way south in November. It's in the middle of nowhere but the area is protected by the state. Around 4 p.m., the field is empty and the skies grow dark with the birds coming back from daily foraging. They start to land while more and more waves arrive. Soon, there's no landing space as the acres are filled with the cranes. It's amazing!

-6 degrees right now but high to be 19!!

Best,
Bonnie

Cicero Sings said...

Hi Betsy. Neat pics of the cranes. We get them up here in the summer but I've never been able to get close enough for a good pic and neither do I have the telephoto lens.

Sounds like you have a good variety of birds at your feeders. I get just red breasted nut hatches and chickadees with the odd woodpecker.

I really like Juncos.

Sharon said...

Love the Sandhill Cranes! Nice pictures!

Our snow is mostly gone, from yesterday's afternoon sun - and I am happy. :-)

We have a lot of Juncos around here - maybe after word gets around, you will get more, I think they are so sweet!

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Great photos of all the birds. I love the one with the 3 cranes all leaning forward. Like they're performing some type of dance.

Linda said...

It sounds as if it's colder and snowier in your part of Tennessee than it is here in our part of Indiana! I don't think we've gotten more than two or three inches of snow. It IS cold, but no sub-zero wind chills yet. Love your bird photos and your snowy Christmas wreaths.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I love the photo of the three cranes in a row...playing copy cat. :)
Lovely snow...I know you are enjoying that Betsy!

Karin said...

Please thank you son again for those excellent photos of the cranes! I'll probably never get to see them in real life. Just loved your bird congregation! Those Juncos are a cute thing. The hawk doesn't even look so fierce, but....looks can be deceiving! Another great post Betsy.

Dorothy said...

Those Cranes are really something! The second picture with their necks stretched out made me LOL!! So Funny looking! Your snow is beautiful!!

Stuff could always be worse said...

Wow cranes in flight, beautiful with the other pics!
kim

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

I enjoyed looking at the pictures of the sandhill cranes that your son sent to you, as well as all the little birds who come to your feeders. Great picture of the hawk! It is windy, bitter cold and snowy here. In between our first major winter storm (in which we received about 3 feet of snow) and yesterday and today's storm, we had rain. The rain washed away some of the snow from the first storm. We still have lots and lots of snow on the ground still, though. It's looking promising that we will have a white Christmas.

Small City Scenes said...

Excellent shots of the Sandhill cranes. Tell you son thanks. We haver them in Eastern Washington and my daughter is always so excited to see them. They are very elusive.
If you want to see a waterfall go to my blog and click on the video. Cheers. MB

Lana said...

A farm just a bit tot he west of us is one of the Sand Hill Cranes' migratory stopping places! So cool!

Love your little Junco. My mom and dad have a bunch of them hopping around the feeder. Can't wait until this spring when we get one up and can start watching the finches and other feathered friends stop by for a snack!

Sunny said...

Love the Cranes; the second pic looks like a choregraphed dance number!
Always a delight to see your dear birdies, the Junco is so cute in his snow fort!
We got a little snow, now I'm ready for Spring - haha!
☼ Sunny

Ginny said...

What a special post today! I have never seen a sandhill crane! When I looked at your first picture, I thought, "What the...? The second picture is like from a nature documentary or something, they are all in a line in the same pose, how funny! It looks like they are choreographing a dance. The little junco is building an igloo! They are snowbirds, after all! We have lots of red tailed hawks around here, you see them sitting up in the trees on Rt. 64. But if I know anything, you and George will be off to the store to try and find a hawk feeder and food!!! Har har har har!!!

The Farmer's Daughter said...

Hi Betsy,

Great photos of the cranes...it would be awesome to see them in person! I'm still not seeing as many birds this winter as usual. Hope that is not a bad sign!

Hugs,
Cheryl

Becca's Dirt said...

Love the cranes. I didn't know that they get so big. Your snow photos are pretty

Linda said...

I wonder if these are the ones that I saw flying overhead a month or so ago. I've never seen them up close.......just on their way back and very high up.

Lisa RedWillow said...

Your photos are beautiful. When the cranes go over my house in the fall heading south you can hear them for miles. I always go out and watch them and they go by the thousands. Love your snow.
Your header is beautfiul.
Have a wonderful day

wildlifewatcher said...

Hi Betsy, I like that tray bird feeder and may get one for my own yard. We have had a few Dark Eyed Junco's here also. Wonderful picture of the Red-tailed Hawk. Thanks for sharing those pictures of the Cranes. I have never seen Cranes in person so I enjoyed the virtual view! Have a super day & stay warm. We may have ice in next few evenings here but that is a maybe.

Diane said...

Your son got some great shots Betsy. Occasionally we see them around here and I have seen them in the Bighorns. Your other pictures are so pretty. Love the little junco. Blessings, Diane

Fred Alton said...

Great shots of the Cranes shared by your son. That's neat, how he can take those pictures, send them to Mom and then view them on the internet so quickly. We live in most exciting times! Plus you did so good taking the shots of the small birds at your feeders. Those hawks will cause panic among the little ones.

JKoenig said...

I enjoyed your son's pictures--especially the one that looked like they were leaning identially. I have so enjoyed all the little birds are our feeders also--we have pretty much the same as you, except no blue birds. They are really busy on these cold snowy days.

Have a beautiful day!

imac said...

Aww, shucks, all ive got is blank red squares and no piccies.

Together We Save said...

Look at allyour snow, we just got a dusting!! It is very pretty but also very cold. I hope we don't get the ice tomorrow they are talking about.

Those cranes are amazing!

Jen said...

That second picture of the cranes is funny.
I had my first hawk last week- don't know what kind it is tho. I got a couple pictures.

Daisy said...

That would be exciting to see a crane! Great pictures Betsy, from both you and your son. Hope you're staying warm. :D

The Retired One said...

Oh Betsy, they are my all time favorite large birds!! I would have been just as thrilled as they/you are to see them and get these gorgeous shots...and your little birdies too...we have the same thing happening here too...when we get a snowstorm they all come to the feeders.

Cheryl said...

I am delighted that your son shared the photos with you and you with us. What beautiful birds. I envy you all the birds that come to your feeders, I would love to see something other than chickadees! I wondered if you got snow and sure enough I see that you did. We have bare ground and cold temps. Stay warm.

diane said...

Wow the crane story was interesting and the pics great. The one of them with their heads forward is funny. Your birdies are so numerous in varieties. It must be wonderful to sit and watch them. I wonder where they nest in winter without the protection of leaves.

Kay said...

You have a larger varity of birds than we do here. I do see more different kinds when I go hiking though.
Kay

nanny said...

The cranes are so pretty....
But oh your snow picture is great!
You have a bigger variety of birds than anyone I know! I quit putting out suet cause something took the whole container down all the time. I mean you should see me wiring and nailing.....lol

Neal said...

We watched a bunch of sandhill cranes fly over our house 2-3 weeks ago. They were making all sorts of noise. The junco is so cute but he looks a little cold. :)

floweringmama said...

Oh Betsy, great, great shots!! The action at my feeders increased today with our snow. I imagine with the ice coming the birds will hang around even longer.

Glenda said...

I've never seen a sandhill crane, so I learned something new here today! My favorite pic is the little junco surrounded by the snow. And the hawk pic is amazing, too! Love, love the pic of the snow on your wreaths and holly bushes.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Betsy!

Your header looks as beautiful as a Christmas card! Yiour home looks so festive.

I loved seeing the sandhill cranes ...such unusual looking birds! Thanks to your son for sharing his photos.

The birds at your feeders look so happy to have found your house! Beautiful photos! Glad the hawk didn't get any birds when he visited.

Hugs, Pat

carolina nana said...

I would love to see one of those large cranes myself. I was in Texas several years ago but wasn't interested in bird watching back then. Makes me wonder what I missed ???
We are still so cold here and they say we are going to get more of something tomorrow snow,ice,sleet, I really don't think the weather people know what is coming. With the ground as frozen as it is I think any thing that falls has got to be frozen but we'll see !!
Have a blessed tomorrow and enjoy the Christmas season.
Marilyn

SquirrelQueen said...

Those Sandhill cranes are beautiful, a big thank you to your son for sharing the photos.

I'll bet your little birds are very happy to have the feeders, imagine trying to hunt for food in all that snow. I love that shot of the Red-tailed hawk, those are the kind I have in my backyard. I know when the Junco and Flickers disappear the female must be in a nearby tree.

The snow is so pretty. We have had warm weather but now it is cooling off again, hopefully some snow will replace all the rain we have been having.

Carletta said...

I saw Rose's cranes. She gets so lucky! :)
Thanks for the great info. Your son takes great pics too I see.
You got more snow than we did. We only got 2 inches. That little Junco looks like he's standing outside an igloo.
It is cold here. We expect below zero temps in the morning. It's 12 right now.
You and George stay warm as well!

ROSALIE said...

I really love the pictures of birds here. You are so lucky...and skilled...to get these pictures. I can't help wondering how you got those cranes to all pose together for the take.....just kidding, but they do look as though you've choreographed them. They're great. The snow is beautiful, but I sure hope you are staying warm.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Love the second picture!

Are they (cranes) doing sychronized exercises? :)

KathyA said...

Thanks for sharing your feathered friends! I think the sandhill cranes are AMAZING! I had never seen them before.

We've not put our bird feeders out yet as a neighbor reported having problems with rats at hers! Yes, RATS! We can't believe it -- but it's true. I'll get them out this weekend, but a little further from the house than usual.

Rose said...

Great photos your son got of the sandhill cranes...they are awesome to see in person...

I love all the little birds that come to our feeders too. And to Sarah's.

We are over here for a while now...she has her second operation in the morn. Not supposed to be but a couple hours and only two or three days in the hospital. I will try to let you know along with everyone else sometime tomorrow night.

misslynda said...

You always have GREAT bird pictures. Have you always been interested in them? Is it a hobby or part of a former vocation?