Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)
Sandhills are a tall, long-necked, long-necked gray bird with red featherless foreheads. They feed on frogs, fish, and insects, but also take much plant food such as seeds, fruits, and aquatic vegetation. They are often seen feeding in corn and upland grain fields. In Michigan, sandhills nest in solitary nests on the ground near or over shallow water in marshes and bogs. They nest by heaping plant debris into a low mound. Two eggs are laid; the young follow the parents soon after hatching, fly in about 70 days, and stay with the parents for nearly a year. Sandhill cranes are intolerant of human disturbance. Their numbers were much reduced by habitat loss and shooting in the early part of this century but have grown in recent decades. Surveys conducted in the early 2000s documented breeding cranes across the entire state with the highest densities in the southern Lower Peninsula and eastern Upper Peninsula.