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Sandhill Cranes return to Otter Creek Marsh

April 5, 2014
By GARRY BRANDENBURG , Times-Republican

SANDHILL CRANES are big, tall and slender. But their eerie call of trebling notes is what usually draws the attention of people. They will usually be seen high in the sky in lofty circling patterns as they ride southerly winds. Look for long outstretched necks and long legs held straight back. A gray body and red head are diagnostic colors. Researchers have taken note of a wide variety of calls made by cranes, all specialized for a purpose. There are purring contact calls for young to remain in touch with parent, and food begging calls. Alarm calls tell of predators. Flight intention calls seem to coordinate groups to fly away together. It is good that the cranes know what all the nuances of the vocabulary mean.



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