Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sand Hill Cranes

One of the most impressive birds found on the Kenai River are the sand hill cranes.  I'm impatiently waiting for these majestic, migratory birds to show up on the peninsula.  It should be just a matter of days before the first ones are spotted.   
Sand hill cranes are a big bird and can have a wingspan over six feet. They are the largest game bird in Alaska. 

There are two populations of sand hill cranes in Alaska.  The Mid-Continent population is found in the interior of Alaska.  By far the most popular viewing area is Craemer's field in Fairbanks.  The Pacific Flyway population is found in the coastal regions of Alaska (mainly Upper Cook Inlet and Bristol Bay).The majority of the Pacific Flyway cranes winter in California while the Mid Continent cranes migrate to southwest United States and Mexico.  
Cranes mate for life and can live to be 20 years old.  They are omnivores, and are constantly on the hunt for food.
Where hunting is allowed, I've been told that they are delicious bird to eat. "Flying filet mignon" or "roast beef on a stick." are just a couple of phrases I've heard to describe their taste.

I can't wait to hear their unique, if not haunting, cackle and to see their distinctive profile as they fly low over the river flats.  It gets me excited because it not only signals that it's spring, but it also signals the start of the salmon run....

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service


Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Update....I heard several sand hill cranes today. Yeah!

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