Tagged: mud

DID YOU KNOW: Sandhill Cranes are the most common and abundant of all the world’s cranes. A fossil from the Miocene Epoch, some ten million years ago, was found to be structurally the same as the modern sandhill crane.

Migratory subspecies of sandhill cranes breed in the Northern U.S., Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. Each winter they undertake long southern journeys to wintering grounds in Florida, Texas, Utah, Mexico, and California. En route, more than three-fourths of all sandhill cranes use migratory staging areas in a single 75-mile (120-kilometer) stretch along Nebraska’s Platte River.  Pairs return to the same nesting territories year after year and sometimes use the same nest repeatedly. The young learn migratory routes from adults; without this modeling, they do not migrate.  Source: National Geographic and International Crane Foundation

Body plumage is characterized by varying shades of gray. In many areas, wild Sandhills preen  mud into their feathers creating a deep rusty brown hue which lasts during spring and summer.

Mated pairs of cranes, including Sandhill Cranes, engage in unison calling, which is a complex and extended series of coordinated calls. While calling, cranes stand in an upright posture, usually with their heads thrown back and beaks skyward during the display. In Sandhill Cranes the female initiates the display and utters two, higher-pitched calls for each male call. While calling, the female raises her beak about 45 degrees above the horizontal while the male raises his bill to a vertical position. All cranes engage in dancing, which includes various behaviors such as bowing, jumping, running, stick or grass tossing, as well as wing flapping. Though it is commonly associated with courtship, dancing can occur at any age and season. Source: National Geographic and International Crane Foundation


June and July seem to be active months for turtles to lay their eggs, although they lay eggs year round. The preserve is filled with all kinds of turtles varying in size and species, especially pond turtles, softshell turtles and snapping turtles.  I was lucky to catch one in the backyard in action and loved to watch her dig with the sand flying all over the place. My dog Louie was jealous, probably thinking it was digging for a bone! I won’t pretend that this a particularly good looking turtle, but it was beautiful nonetheless…..not just an empty shell, like some humans we know.

DID YOU KNOW: Turtles are divided into two groups depending on how they contract their neck.  One group (Cryptodira) contracts their neck under the spine: and the other (Pleurodira) contracts their neck to the side. The shell of a turtle is made up of 60 different bones all connected together and turtles have good eyesight and an excellent sense of smell.  Apparently, their hearing and sense of touch are good too and even the shell contains nerve endings.  Also, a turtle’s shell never falls off  and is never too large or too small because it grows with the turtle. The shell is made from the turtle’s rib cage and spine and is attached to the internal bones of the turtle’s body. (source:  Animal Planet/Discovery and The Book of Animal Ignorance; Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong.)

turtle3 © 2009 Hilda Perez

turtle1 © 2009 Hilda Perez

turtle2 copy © 2009 Hilda Perez