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 Sandhill Crane

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Sandhill Crane.

Use the links below to view the Sandhill Crane reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Sandhill Crane sightings.
Sandhill Crane Archives Reports
Fall 2003 18285
Spring 2003 693
Winter 02-03 0
Fall 2002 20413
Summer 2002 108
Spring 2002 1605
Winter 01-02 866
Fall 2001 9464
Summer 2001 61
Spring 2001 553
Winter 00-01 197
Fall 2000 13024
Summer 2000 88
Spring 2000 1372
Winter 00-99 2612
Fall 1999 20827
Spring/Summer 1999 22

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Sandhill Crane

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Sandhill Crane
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Sandhill Crane
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Grus canadensis tabida (Peters)
Sandhill Crane

Rare and local summer resident in central southern counties of the Lower Peninsula and in eastern counties of the Upper Peninsula. Reported once in winter (Jackson County).

First recorded for Michigan by Miles (1861: 229).

There are few definite data on the early status of the Sandhill Crane in Michigan. A. J. Cook (1893a: 53) described the species as '(decreasingly common," and Barrows (1912: 150) thought it probable that it had nested in nearly every part of the state. Scattered reports indicate regular but local occurrence in small colonies or isolated pairs, for example, in Ingham County (Atkins, 1884: 45; 1884o; 6-7) ; in Shiawassee County (Brownell, 1892: 156) ; Delta and Schoolcraft counties (Van Winkle, 1892: 186) ; and near Battle Creek (Arnold, 1903&; 86-87).

SPRING.-Arrival is reported in southern counties from late February to the latter half of April; in the Upper Peninsula in early or mid-April.

Lower Peninsula.-The average date of arrival at Petersburg, Monroe County, was March 15, according to Trombley (W. W. Cooke, 1914: 12), but the only recent record for the county seems to be that of William Anderson (fide L. W. Campbell), who noted 4 flying over the Erie marsh, Erie Town- ship, on March 24, 1940. Walter Koelz (1923: 37) reported regular arrival in northeastern Jackson County between March 5 and 20. Walkinshaw (1933: 99; notes) has recorded arrival in Calhoun County chiefly during the last week of March. From 1857 to 1883 Atkins (1884o; 6-7) recorded arrival in Ingham County between February 19 (1857) and April 12 (1865). N. A. Wood saw 2 unusually large flocks, 1 (about 15 cranes) in Sharon Township, Washtenaw County, on May 30,2023 (N. A. Wood, 1921a;590) , and 1 (about 20 cranes) near Unadilla, Livingston County, on March 24, 2023 (N. A. Wood, 1912:160; date given incorrectly by Ridgway and Friedmann, 1941: 21).

Upper Peninsula.-Sandhill Cranes have arrived at Blaney, Schoolcraft County (Christofferson), and at McMillan, Luce County (Bryens), frequently in the second and third weeks of April, but sometimes earlier; 2 were seen as early as April 2 in 1925 (Bryens, 1926: 367). Several birds observed as late as June 1 near the tip of Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, seemed to be still in migration (N. A. Wood, 1914: 61).

SUMMER.-Eggs have been found by mid-April and young by mid-May.

Lower Peninsula.-Nests have been found in Sharon Township, Washtenaw County (2 eggs on May 5, 1940-Walkinshaw) ; Convis Township, Calhoun County (a nest almost yearly since 1931-Walkinshaw, 1933: 99- 106; and notes) ; Johnstown Township, Barry County (2 eggs on April 23, 1941-Walkinshaw) ; Bath Township, Clinton County (several nests found since 1935 by C. J. Henry, Durward L. Alien, C. T. Black, Walkinshaw, and others) ; and Iosco Township, Livingston County (several nests found since 1934 by William Clay, H. K. Gloyd, Frank J. Hinds, and others). Wells W. Cooke (1914: 12) listed 3 nests (all reported by Arnold) : 2 near Jackson (May 8, 2023 and May 5, 2023), and 1 in Summerfield Township, Monroe County (May 2, 2023). An adult was reported on Black River Island, Alcona County, on July 13, 1933, by C. C. and F. E. Ludwig.

Upper Peninsula.-The Sandhill Crane was recently found nesting in Hiawatha Township, Schoolcraft County, about 20 miles north of Manistique (2 eggs on May 9, 1937-Walkinshaw and E. E. Crawford). The species has been reported elsewhere in summer, though without nesting evidence: at Whitefish Point, Chippewa County (by N. A. Wood, 1914: 61; W. B. Tyrrell, July 5, 1930; and Brodkorb in mid-May, 1936) ; at McMillan, Luce County (Bryens) ; at Blaney, Schoolcraft County (Christofferson) ; and at Seney, Schoolcraft County ("young cranes" seen in 1939 by H. L. Bradley).

FALL.-Larger flocks have been noted in fall than in spring. Migration is reported chiefly from mid-September to mid-October in the Upper Peninsula and to late October in southern counties.

Upper Peninsula.-On October 8, 1931, about 13 miles north of Isabella, Delta County, Christofferson saw a flock of 23 and a flock of 9; and on the Seney marshes, Schoolcraft County, Eddy (1897; 47) noted 11 birds in "the latter part of September last" (September 25, 1895, fide Barrows, 1912: 151). At Blaney, Schoolcraft County (Christofferson), and at McMillan, Luce County (Bryens), the species has been observed somewhat less regularly (though in larger flocks) in fall than in spring. Apparently it leaves these localities during the latter half of September and early October; examples of the larger numbers seen migrating are (at McMillan): 14 on October 9 (1939) and 10 as late as October 18 (1935). In Chippewa County an immature male (U.M.M.Z.) -was collected by Mrs. Curren Hawkins at Whitefish Point, on October 2, 1929, and 2 groups (of 4 and 5 birds) were seen by F. M. Baumgartner near Fibre on October 1, 1936.

Lower Peninsula.-George H. Davison took a specimen (Grand Rapids Mus.) in Ottawa County on October 23, 1909; and in the Corey Marsh, near Bath, southeastern Clinton County, D. F. Switzenberg observed a flock of 19 that "disappeared" by October 1 (1938), after remaining several days. Among groups noted by Walkinshaw in the Convis Township marsh, Calhoun County, are a flock of 16 on October 1 (1939), and a flock of 9 ob- served 3 times between October 20 and November 3, 1940. The gathering into flocks begins fairly early (Koelz, 1923: 37) ; at Mud Lake, Lyndon Township, Washtenaw County (close to Waterloo, Jackson County), 27 birds were seen by Walter Koelz on August 10 (1922) and a flock of about 30 by Carl Koelz "in late August" (1920). Later in the season, Orton H. dark observed 20 birds in mid-October (1936, near Waterloo, Jackson County), and Donal H. Haines noted 10 on October 19 (1930, in Sharon Township, Washtenaw County) and 5 on October 24 (1937, west of Waterloo, Jackson County). Some years ago "large flocks of 100 or more" apparently visited Jackson County in October and November (L. W. Watkins, fide A. 3. Cook, 1893o; 53).

WINTER.-An individual with an injured leg, but seen flying easily; apparently survived the winter of 1940-41 near Waterloo, Jackson County, according to William Parks and Mr. Really, local farmers who live adjacent to a crane marsh and know the species well. They saw this bird until sometime in February.

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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