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With a graceful leap, wings outstretched, Sandhill Cranes welcome the longer days. The stately cranes are courting, renewing an annual dance they perform in earnest as the days lengthen into spring. Sandhill Crane pairs remain together for life, and their spirited dance plays an essential role in reaffirming this bond.
Leaping Sandhill Cranes
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[Large flock of Sandhill Cranes calling loudly]
In the rosy glow of a sunrise on a Southwestern marsh, a pair of Sandhill Cranes calls in unison. With a graceful leap, wings outstretched, the two cranes welcome the last days of February. [Sandhill Crane pair calls]
The stately cranes are courting, renewing an annual dance they perform in earnest as the days lengthen into spring. The dance begins with a downward bow, the cranes’ long, slender bills nearly touching the ground. Then, like enormous marionettes pulled deftly upward, the cranes leap several feet off the ground, wings outstretched. Bowing and leaping, raising and lowering their wings, the cranes dance on as the sun rises.
[Sandhill Crane pair calls]
Sandhill Crane pairs remain together for life, and their spirited dance plays an essential role in reaffirming this bond. The cranes’ exquisite dance complements beautifully their rich, rolling calls - one of nature’s most memorable anthems. [Large flock of Sandhill Cranes calling]
The elegant Sandhills will leap and dance a few days more, before migrating north to nest.
You can see a video of Sandhill Cranes in their courtship dance, on our website, BirdNote.org. I’m Mary McCann.
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Calls of huge flocks of Sandhill Cranes  recorded by A.A. Allen; calls of pair of Sandhill Cranes  recorded by G.A. Keller.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org February 2014/2016/2020/2022 Narrator: Mary McCann
ID# 2008-02-29-SACR-01 SACR-01b