I came across a family of two Sandhill Crane parents and two colts enjoying a beautiful day in June, 2015, at the Deer Grove East Forest Preserve in Palatine, Illinois, oblivious to picnickers and photographers alike.

Deer Grove Forest Preserve has an East side that is predominantly open, and a West side that is more rugged. I stopped by the East side (see the map at the end of the post) on June 1 for a quick lunch and found the family walking in the open grass.

The two young colts, which is what juvenile Sandhill Cranes are called, were alternately hanging around the legs of the adults and going off to lay in the shade. They were not making any noise, but for reference here’s what a noisy Sandhill Crane sounds like–this sound multiplies into a cacophany for flocks of these birds.

Listen to a Sandhill Crane – Macaulay Library

The adults were not very concerned about me, and I kept a good distance out of concern for them.

The colts were enjoying grubs dug out of the ground by their parents, who both took a lot of care of their young.

Occasionally the two colts ran around together in the cutest way!

I will be publishing photographs of Sandhill Cranes in more rugged settings, but it was refreshing to see a family interacting in a more domestic setting.

4 thoughts on “Sandhill Cranes Frolicking in the Sunshine

  1. Another post – starting out strong, and by strong I mean once again putting out an offering I do not have. Sure , I have the Sandhill adults, but no Colts for me. By the way, I did not know they were Colts until I read this so my birding lore has just been increased thanks to you. The last two shots are awesome – giving the nod to the last one because it has that Run Forest Run feel to it and …. well, I like to run. It was a tough decision though, because I also like any parent to offspring interaction (similar to the Sparrow feeding the Cowbird we have from Weldon Springs.

    I see you got the map pin on – nice job!


    1. Thanks! Those were the happiest birds I’ve ever seen, and the parents were absolutely doting (I have many shots with both parents in them). As I mentioned, I’m hoping to add more bird facts in future posts, if only to learn them myself. That’s also the reason behind the audio clips.


  2. That is exactly why I add facts and other details in my own posts – self indulgent learning on my part – everyone just gets to share in the experience hehehe.


  3. Great photos of the little ones. Have to try one of the two sandhill crane wildlife refuges in Nebraska sometime.


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