Airdate: Apr 24, 2012
Scientist: Rick Schnaderbeck
Greater Sandhill Cranes: Courtship
Cranes mate for life and are models of responsibility, discipline, and vigilance.
Greater Sandhill Cranes - Courtship
Music; Ambience: Sandhill Cranes cooing
JM: In traditional lore, cranes were known as messengers of the gods and symbols of vigilance and discipline. To this list of positive attributes, wildlife biologists could add fidelity and responsibility. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Right now we're listening to the sounds of Greater Sandhill Cranes who are in the midst of their spring migration to their breeding grounds.
JM: Ron Garcia is a biologist at Colorado's Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, a favorite stopover for cranes migrating north.
RG: "The males and the females will share a lot of the responsibility. The males will actually help build the nest and in some cases even incubate the eggs for short periods of time and then the males are closely involved with raising the young. And so it's really a tight family unit till about this time of the year when the adults are getting ready to start the process all over and last years young will go off on his own."
JM: Greater Sandhill cranes mate for life, and here in Colorado before the the birds get the urge for moving to their breeding grounds, you can sometimes see them begin an elaborate courtship dance that has pairs of birds facing off, bobbing their heads up and down and taking great leaps into the air.
RG: "Its kind of a hopping and spreading or the wings or flapping of the wings and movements of the neck and a lot of it relates to mating rituals between male and female."
JM: Please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation.