Panther Island Adventures!

Panther Island is 2,800 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats situated in the northwest corner of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's 13,000 acres. It is home to numerous plants and animals including the Florida panther and the iconic wood stork.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Bird of the Week December 7: Sandhill Crane

There are two subspecies of the sandhill crane found in Florida. At Panther Island, I see Florida sandhill cranes year-round and during the winter they are often joined by migratory greater sandhill cranes. The Florida subspecies nests in late winter into spring in Florida (and on Panther Island... a goal is to photograph and document this this year!). The nests are basically flat mats of vegetaion (dead sticks, reeds, grasses, and moss) around 2 feet in diameter. Nests are found in shallow water. These birds are monogamous and it is believed they mate for life. They don't reach sexual maturity until 2 years and can live to be 20 years old. Usually the female lays 2 eggs and then both adults incubate the eggs over a period of about a month. The young are a pretty rusty or cinnamon color that fades as they age. The little ones are able to follow their parents around within a day of hatching! Sandhill cranes forage on a wide variety of things including berries, seeds, insects, snakes, frogs, crayfish and even small mammals and birds.
For additional information go to the International Crane Foundation

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