Illuminated - Glasgow Barren County 2016 - Page 13

“Now we can get over 10,000 easy,” Tamminga said. The birds migrate south from Canada and the northern states in October, but many of the first birds to arrive pass Barren River Lake up and go on to Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Florida, he said. “I would say the birds that come here start around mid-November to Thanksgiving, the ones that stick around,” he said. Tamminga gives a lecture about the birds each year when the Barren River Lake State Resort Park hosts its Nature Watch Weekends in late January and early February. During his lecture, he talks about the Greater Sandhill Crane being one of six subspecies that make up the Grus candensis species. Of the six subspecies, the Mississippi and the Cuban Sandhill Cranes are endangered, and the Florida Sandhill Crane is considered to be threatened, he said. “The sandhill crane, the lesser, has the biggest population. We have the Greater Sandhill Crane here,” he said. The Greater Sandhill Crane stands between 3 to 5 feet tall and weighs between 14 to 16 pounds. The birds can be recognized by the large plume on their tail that is really their tertial feathers. They also have a bright patch of color on their cheeks. “Their cheek color indicates social status based on the age of family standing,” he said. “The paired adults will always have bright white cheeks and unpaired adults will have a mixture of white and gray, and juveniles will just have gray.” Greater Sandhill Cranes also have a bright red patch of skin atop their heads. “They can puff that out and make it really bright red, especially during the breeding season,” he said. Their feet are well-adapted to the marsh. “They can be in really muddy habitat or swampy habitat and easily stand up in it,” he said. Male birds are slightly larger than female birds, but other than that there’s no other outward characteristic to distinguish between males and females. The Greater Sandhill Cranes are monogamous once they form pair bonds, which exist even in non-breeding seasons. “They don’t just fall in love like in the Disney movies and mate for life. They normally date four or five significant others before forming this lasting relationship that does last for life, “Tamminga said. “Once a pair bond is formed and mating does take place and young are produced, divorce is extremely rare.” Greater Sandhill Cranes typically lay two eggs, with one chick usually surviving. The birds are also known to dance. “This is another k [و[^Bˈ][\[][H[YK[HX\ۋ[H[YHوYX\]ۜ\و[\˂^H[[\\Y\ Y] ^B[\Y]\[وZH[][\ [ H]8&\[Z]YH^܈YK8'BHZY 8']8&\\HܛX[[܈][Y[[[ۈ]^H]K][XY^][Y[܈\][ۈ[][[][]HHY\ۜK'BHܙX]\[[ܘ[\YYۂܘZ[ܛۈX\Z\]\\X[Hܛ[XX[˂ӕSQQӈQH M\P\[[K[XN[[Z[]Y L‚