Wednesday, April 25, 2018


There probably isn't a critter I enjoy watching and photographing more than a Sandhill Crane.  Yet, I've recently learned that a Michigan House of Representatives resolution could put this population in danger.  HR 154 is a non-binding resolution urging seven politically-appointed members of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to open a recreational hunting season on our state's sandhill cranes. 

Can you imaging shooting sandhill cranes as game?  The thought truly sickens me.  For the past few months, concerned citizens have taken the time to attend monthly NRC meetings to advocate for no hunting of Michigan's sandhill cranes.

The next NRC business meeting will held May 10th at 1 pm at Kirkbride Hall in Building 50, Room 200 at the Commons.  Kirkbride Hall is at 700 Cottage View Drive in Traverse City. 

Following the official meeting, there will be time for public comment.  To speak before the NRC panel on behalf of sandhill cranes, it is mandatory to sign up in advance of the meeting by calling Cheryl Nelson at 517-284-6237 or by emailing her at by the Friday before the meeting.

Besides the pure ugliness of shooting these beautiful birds, the sandhill crane population is very sensitive.  Each mating pair usually produces only one surviving fledgling annually, so the population is very slow to recover from loss.  Also, it takes these young birds several years to reach breeding age, which again impairs replacement of the crane population.

So please, if you can't attend the meeting, take a moment to email the commission at and urge it to keep these birds protected. 

A couple weeks ago, I shared photographs of a pair of Sandhill Cranes doing their pair bonding dance.  It was a breathtaking experience. 

These last three images were of another experience I had a few years ago photographing the pair bonding dance at Cross Farms in Northport.  Unforgettable beauty.


  1. Thanks for sharing this Karen. I already email them about my disapproval of a hunting season for Cranes. There numbers have grown, but as you stated it's a slow process. Being they mate for life is another reason we should continue to protect them. The hunter's have enough game on the list and I can't image an old Sandhill Crane would be good eating. I think farmers already have the right to shoot them on their property if they are destroying crops.

  2. Thanks, Mark. You are correct about farmers having the right to shoot nuisance cranes who are destroying their crops. Would you believe in 2015 there were only 74 of those permits issued in Michigan--a state that has over 2.4 million acres of cornfields.

  3. Great shots of these Sandhill Cranes, Karen! They are one of my favorite birds, too. Thank you for raising our awareness about the threat of Resolution HR 154 to these wonderful birds.

  4. Thanks, Jan. Hope you're able to advocate for the cranes too.