The Bird Book/Cranes


WADING BIRDS

CRANES, RAILS, Etc. Order VIII. PALUDICOL^ CRANES. Family GRUIDAE

Cranes are large, long-legged, long-necked birds, somewhat resembling Herons. Their structure and mode of living partakes more of the nature of the Rails, however. They are found upon the prairies, where besides shell fish from the ponds, they feed largely upon grasshoppers, worms, etc.

204. WHOOPING CRANE. Grus americana. Range. Interior of North America, breeding

from about the latitude of Iowa northward to the Arctic regions ; winters in the Gulf states and southward.

The Whooping Crane is the largest of the family in America, measuring 50 inches or more in length. The plumage of the adults is pure white, with black primaries. The bare parts of the head and face are carmine. It is a very locally distributed species, in some sections being practically unknown, while in a neighboring locality it may be rated as common. They are very shy birds and are not easily obtained. They nest either upon the solid earth or in marshy places over the water. In either case the nest is a very bulky mass of grass and weeds from two to three feet in diameter and raised perhaps a foot above the ground. They lay two eggs of a brownish buff color, irregularly blotched with brown, and with fainter marking of gray. Size 3.75 x 2.50. Data. Torkton, northern Assiniboia, northwest Canada. Nest a mass of marsh hay, three feet in diameter, on the prairie. The birds seen, but very wary. Collector, Cowbry Brown.

205. LITTLE BROWN CRANE. Grus canadensis.

Range. North America in the interior, breeding from Hudson Bay and southern Alaska north to the Arctic coast; south in winter to Mexico.

This uniform gray colored Crane differs from the next species only in size, being about three feet in length, while the Sandhill averages three and one-half feet. The eggs cannot be distin- -.*-. ^~rr guished with any certainty. P Little Brown Crane

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THE BIRD BOOK

Brownish buff EGG OF WHOOPING CRANE

Buff EGG OF LITTLE BROWN CRANE

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WADING BIRDS

206. SANDHILL CRANE. Grus mexicana.

Range. Temperate North America, breeding from the Gulf States, locally north to the southern parts of the British Provinces.

This is the most common and the most southerly distributed member of the family. In some sections of Florida and Texas it is regarded as abundant. They nest in marshy places near secluded ponds. The nests are masses of grass, weeds and roots, generally placed in marshes and entirely surrounded by water. The two eggs are similar to those of the Whooping Crane, but the ground color is lighter. The eggs of the two species cannot always, with certainty, be distinguished. Size 3.75 x 2.40. Data. Carman, Manitoba, May 31, 1903. 2 eggs. Nest on a knoll in a marsh, hidden by dead rushes and weeds; a flat loose structure of broken rushes and reeds. Collector, Chris Forge.