Sandhill Crane and a stormy sky

/, Sandhill Cranes, Utah, Wayne County/Sandhill Crane and a stormy sky

Sandhill Crane and a stormy skySandhill Crane and a stormy sky

In March of this year I spent several days photographing Sandhill Cranes in southern Utah where the light and the weather could rapidly change. This Sandhill Crane flew in when a snow storm was hanging over the mountains to the northwest as the sun came up.  I thought the light on the crane was beautiful against the drama of the background.

“On motionless wing they emerge from the lifting mists, sweep a final arc of sky, and settle in clangorous descending spirals to their feeding grounds. A new day has begun on the crane marsh.” Aldo Leopold

For me it is always a joy to see a new day begin with the sight of Sandhill Cranes and to hear their clangorous calls as a new day begins.



  1. Kathie August 29, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Ha! You were so close you can see the light through its nostrils! Yes indeed! It is an amazing sight! Love these birds! I use to watch them from the Great Salt Lake Shoreland Preserve viewing tower. I always loved being up there on a stormy day, especially as I was usually there alone! On days like that, I can feel the wildness in me!

  2. Julie Brown August 28, 2014 at 4:45 am

    Cranes are fascinating. I got to spend some time observing them massing on the Platte River from a blind in Nebraska last March. It was a unique experience.

  3. Wally August 27, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Brilliant photograph, Mia! I love the “pastel” look of the backdrop and can easily visualize a storm brewing. Terrific play of light on the feathers.

    We’re fortunate to have a morning and evening flyover of Sandhills as they move to and from roost and feeding ground. It’s a wonderful way to start a day!

  4. Elephant's Child August 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm


  5. Utahbooklover August 27, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Wonderful image Mia. I listened to their calls at the link you gave and discovered this life history: “Although some start breeding at two years of age, Sandhill Cranes may reach the age of seven before breeding. They mate for life—which can mean two decades or more—and stay with their mates year-round. Juveniles stick close by their parents for 9 or 10 months after hatching. The earliest Sandhill Crane fossil, estimated to be 2.5 million years old, was unearthed in Florida.” And everyone knows they are also graceful dancers.

  6. Jolanta August 27, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Fantastic picture, love it!

  7. Patty Chadwick August 27, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Beautiful shot…love the soft clouds and hint of mountain in the background…

  8. Sherry in Mt August 27, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Such amazing light in this shot and I too love hearing the cranes in the evenings and the mornings at my house. Almost as much as the songbirds.

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