Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sandhill Cranes migrating through Northern Illinois; Nygren Wetlands Preserve

A pair of Sandhill Cranes flying over Nygren Wetlands Preserve, Rockton, IL; 3/27/11.
 From mid March to mid April you have a good chance of seeing Sandhill Cranes in northern Illinois as they migrate farther north into Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, much of Canada and Alaska, and also into western Montana, Idaho and eastern Oregon. I have seen these beautiful birds in a multitude of places: in marshy areas near Crystal Lake, IL, at Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, the Nygren Wetlands, Rockton IL, and Val, has even seen them in farm fields along I-39, while driving southward towards Rochelle, IL.
Another Sandhill Crane browsing through the grass at
Nygren Wetlands Preserve, Rockton, IL; 4/10/11.

If you are looking for Cranes, Nygren Wetlands Preserve is an excellent area to try to find them and is great for birding in general. It has more than 700 acres of wetlands, prairies and forests, with trails that lead you to many of the areas.  Click the link below to a great website about the Preserve:

I have been there three times in the past three weeks have seen Sandhill Cranes each time as well as many other waterbirds including American White Pelicans, Northern Shovelers, American Coots, Mallards, Canada Geese, Ring-billed Gulls, Killdeers, Greater Scaups, Common Mergansers, Canvasbacks, Great Blue Herons, Blue-winged Teals, Green-winged Teals, and small flock of Sandpipers which flew off before I could ID them. I have also seen the usual Song Sparrows, American Crows, Northern Cardinals, American Robins,  Red-winged Blackbirds, Black-capped Chickadees, Northern Flickers, Tree Swallows, Yellow-rumped Myrtles, Eastern Meadowlarks, Downey Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Cowbirds,Vesper Sparrows, White-breasted Nuthatches, Blue Jays, European Starlings,  and Mourning Doves. Val saw a Brown Thrasher that I missed last weekend.

A typical scene at Nygren Wetlands: Geese, Northern Shovelers, Coots
and Blue-winged Teals in the foreground, and a pair of Sandhill Cranes
walking behind,  Rockton, IL; 4/10/11.

For more information about Sandhill Cranes, see my post from last August 5, 2010 (Link below):

We also saw this herd of young White-tailed Deer running across a grassy field
at the Nygren Wetlands Preserve, Rockton, IL; 4/10/11.

Tommorrow I will post pictures of a rare sighting of a Cinnamon Teal that has been hanging around North Pond in Lincoln Park, Chicago.


Chesney said...

I just love the cranes...such a peculiar bird, yet so majestic...gorgeous captures!

Anonymous said...

I saw a huge flock of cranes today!?! Was shocked as it is Jan 19th and i am in northern illinois (west of st charles). I first saw and heard a big flock of geese, but then was amazed to hear and see the huge mass of cranes overhead.
Kelly G

jon said...

Yes, this is somewhat surprising, as Sandhills usually are long gone by now. BNut this has been a strange winter. Perhaps because until just recently, the weather has not been very wintery, and many birds hung around longer and now are on the move with the real winter setting in. Jon.

Anonymous said...

Saw about a thousand sandhill cranes fly directly over Glen Ellyn IL on Mar 11th 2012, appeared to be heading northeast but also circling a bit.

Anonymous said...

Just saw a Sandhill Crane by Cranberry Lake off of Hainesville Rd, Hainesville, IL. It was gorgeous. My dod and the bird were staring eachother down.

susan said...

just saw two sandhill cranes off hunt club road in gurnee, il

Anonymous said...

Just heard sandhill cranes out my back door so I went out to look. Sure enough a pair is out feeding in a melted wetland in my subdivision in Lake Barrington, Il. I love these birds-used to see lots of them when I lived in Florida

Karen Z. said...

Visiting my Mom in Crystal lake, Illinois, where families of sandhill cranes have been living In Spring and in Autumn. in marshy islands created In her subdivision, Wedgewood. She has seen babies. The adults are huge, about 4.5 feet tall. The cranes are acclimated to the people and walk down the street. Pretty amazing to watch.
Karen Z.