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 NRC@michigan.gov 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 NRC@Michigan.gov 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.