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Sandhill Cranes are flying overhead today

A flock of sandhill cranes, Grus canadensis, was spotted flying above Knoch Knolls Park today!

Staff heard their garbled call and then saw them riding the thermals high up in the sky. Sometimes they fly so high that they become only small dots, making them difficult to see. So many birders use their distinctive call to indicate their presence.

These large cranes, ranging from 2.5 feet to 4 feet tall, are migrating south for the winter.

They spent the summer in their breeding grounds in the upper U.S. or Canada, although some pairs nest locally.

In the winter they can congregate in flocks of  up to 10,000 birds in places such as the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge along the Rio Grande in New Mexico.

For naturalists, their calls herald the change of seasons in the spring and fall. 

To learn more about these elegant birds, visit Audubon's Guide to North American Birds.