Mississippi Sandhill Cranes – Rare Birds
They’re one of the rarest bird populations in North America. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Hereford: There’s only about 120 to 130. And they’re the last of non-migratory sandhill cranes that used to stretch probably from Southern Georgia across several gulf coast states maybe even into Texas. They’re in Mississippi, coastal Alabama. They’re in coastal Louisiana.
Scott Hereford is senior wildlife biologist at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. There are other subspecies of Sandhill Cranes, but the Mississippi Sandhill Crane and its habitat are unique.
Hereford: This habitat is pretty rare. There’s only about 2-3% of the original range. Some of the last remaining large patches are found right here in this refuge. Wet pine savannahs. Some people also call it wet coastal prairies, pitcher plant bogs. Mostly open, with few scattered pine trees, incredible plant diversity at the ground level. The soil’s kind of boggy.
Ambience: Crane call
Hereford: Right there. There’s one. Female right there, coming in. See her? Right there. See her coming in?
A single female flew in, and flew over the pen and was looking for other cranes. If they would’ve been here, she would have landed and joined them. But there’s no other cranes here yet. So she’s maybe too shy to come and be the first one here.
We’ll hear more on the Mississippi Sandhill Crane in future programs. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.