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Astonishing Creatures: the Sandhill Crane LbNA #18740

Owner:lisascenic Contact
Plant date:Oct 15, 2005
County:San Joaquin
Found by: Ramdelt
Last found: Mar 7, 2018
Hike distance:Unknown
Last edited:Oct 15, 2005
There are fifteen species of crane on our planet, and of those, eleven species are endangered or threatened with extinction. While America's largest bird, the Whooping Crane is highly endangered and restricted to only a few areas of the West, about 35,000 Lesser Sandhill Cranes and 7,000 Greater Sandhill Cranes winter in the Central Valley of California, spending their time in open grasslands and flooded agricultural fields.

Cranes are tall, imposing birds with a heavy body, long neck and long legs. Standing four to five feet high and possessing a wing span of six to seven feet, these awesome creatures range between Cuba and northeastern Siberia.

Cranes are known for a variety of vocalizations, and for their elaborate dancing behaviors. Cranes mate for life, and every breeding season, they reinforce their relationships with complex courtship display, where they both dance and sing duets. The cranes bow to each other after leaping high into the air with their wings half spread. Apparently, this the song and dance are quite "catchy" and once one set of cranes start this behavior, other members of the flock will soon join in.

Lodi California hosts an annual Sandhill Crane Festival, and is an over-wintering spot for vast numbers of migratory birds. Of course, Lodi is also a known for zinfandel grapes, and once you've been to a couple of tasting rooms, the wigeons and buffleheads will be calling your name!

My crane is resting at the Isenberg Crane Reserve.

Directions: Take I-5 to Lodi area and exit either Turner Road or Peltier Road and turn east. Immediately turn onto Thornton Road (northbound from Turner; southbound from Peltier) and proceed about two miles to Woodbridge Road. Turn west and proceed 2 ½ miles to parking area and viewing mound on the south side of road. Good viewing times for cranes are the two hours before sunrise and before sunset. Be quiet around the birds. Don't slam car doors, and keep your voice low. Please leave your dog in the car.

Facing the fields from the parking area, locate the telephone pole. Behind the pole is a broken cement pile, with a few chunks of cement inside it. Could there be a crane nesting inside? (I hid this in the fall, and suspect that there will be a huge thistle crop once the rains start. Sorry. The whole area is very open and exposed, and this was the best spot I could find.)