Blog Archive: Cranes

Birdorable Black-necked Crane

New Coloring Pages to Wrap Up Crane Week

March 31st, 2018 in Coloring Pages, Cranes, Free Downloads No comments

Of the 15 species of crane in the world, six of them have a color in part of the name: black, grey, white, red, or blue. This Crane Week we've added four new crane coloring pages to our free downloads collection. You can get creative with our new additions:

Birdorable crane coloring pages

Direct links to the coloring pages:

All of our coloring pages are free to download and are perfect for schools, nature centers, zoos, and other environmental education locations.

Thanks for following along as we celebrated cranes this week on the Birdorable blog!

Birdorable Sandhill Crane

Crane Week Bird Term: Precocial

March 30th, 2018 in Bird Terms, Cranes 2 comments
Baby Sandhill Crane with parent

We're celebrating cranes on the Birdorable blog this week! Today we'd like to share a bird term that relates to cranes and other birds. Let's learn about what it means to be precocial!

The term precocial comes from the Latin praecocia, which refers to "places where fruits ripen early." A precocial species is one in which the newly hatched or born young are relatively mature. In birds, this means the baby is usually covered in downy feathers and is able to walk and even feed itself within a short time of hatching. This adaptation is found in most ground-nesting birds as a strategy to evade predators when the nest offers little shelter.

Cranes have precocial young, as do many other birds, including ducks and geese, chickens, and rails. Malleefowl chicks can even already fly within a day of hatching. There are some mammals born precocial, like the Hartebeest, whose calves can stand and walk within hours of being born.

On the other end of the development spectrum are altricial babies. In birds, this usually means at the time of hatching the chick is naked (without feathers), has its eyes shut, and is completely helpless and dependent on its parents for care all of its needs.

Two other terms related to precocial and altricial are nidifugous and nidicolous. Nidifugous species leave the nest site shortly after hatching; all nidifugous species are precocial but not all precocial species are nidifugous. Precocial birds that remain in the nest for a period are called nidicolous.

Birdorable Sandhill Crane

Crane Festivals

March 28th, 2018 in Cranes, Events 1 comment
Sandhill Cranes in flight

It's Crane Week! You may be wondering where you can find cranes. There are cranes on every continent except for South America and Antarctica. With their elaborate mating dances, haunting calls, impressive size, and epic migrations, cranes are celebrated all around the world. You can join other crane enthusiasts at various crane festivals around the United States and beyond.

The Whooping Crane Festival in Port Aransas, Texas This huge annual festival celebrated its 22nd year in 2018. The fest takes place at the end of February each year and features field trips, speakers, workshops, a trade show, and more.

Crane Festival in Kearney, Nebraska This annual festival takes place in late March. Birding field trips, information sessions, and other activities are offered for participants.

Monte Vista Crane Festival in the San Luis Valley of Colorado This festival takes place in March each year. Visitors enjoy viewing spectacular flocks of cranes, ducks, and geese in a beautiful mountain setting.

Chrissiesmeer Crane Festival in Chrissiesmeer, South Africa This annual festival takes place in July. Visitors can see South Africa's national bird, the Blue Crane, as well as the spectacular Grey Crowned-Crane.

Cranes of the World Festival at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin This family-friendly event will next take place on August 4, 2018.

Tanana Valley Sandhill Crane Festival in Alaska This annual festival will next take place August 24-26 2018.

Yampa Valley Crane Festival in northwest Colorado This festival from the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition will next take place starting August 30, 2018. The fest features guided bird viewings, live raptor presentations, photography workshops, and much more.

Whooping Crane Festival in Princeton, Wisconsin This annual one-day festival includes activities like a pancake breakfast, vendors, triva, and guided tours.

CraneFest in Bellevue, Michigan This combined crane and art festival will next take place October 13-14, 2018. Each day the festival features artists, food vendors, and conservation-related information and activities. Stay for the spectacular evening fly-in of cranes that takes place in the hours before dusk.

Sandhill Crane Festival in Lodi, California This festival will next take place November 2-4, 2018. The event celebrates the return of the cranes for the winter and features related presentations and workshops for participants.

Black-necked Crane Festival in the Phobjikha Valley of Bhutan This celebration takes place in mid-November, when the cranes return to Bhutan. The fest highlights the importance of preserving and appreciating the endangered crane.

Festival of the Cranes in Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico This huge six-day festival takes place in November at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and offers over a hundred activities like photography sessions, birding trips, and more.

Birdorable Black Crowned-Crane

T-Shirt Tuesday: National Cranes

March 27th, 2018 in Cranes, T-Shirt Tuesday No comments

For T-Shirt Tuesday [Crane Edition] we're unveiling several new t-shirt designs inspired by cranes that are honored as avian emblems in several different places around the world. These cute crane t-shirts are available from our Birdorable store on Amazon. Click a design to view the t-shirt on Amazon.

The Black Crowned-Crane is the National Bird of Nigeria. In this t-shirt design our cartoon bird stands proudly before the Nigerian national flag.

Birdorable Black Crowned-Crane with Nigeria Flag T-Shrit

The Black-necked Crane is the official state bird of Jammu and Kashmir in India. A stylized image of the crane is featured on the state flag, which is part of our t-shirt design.

State Bird of Jammu & Kashmir India Black-necked Crane

The Blue Crane is the National Bird of South Africa. It is featured in a collegiate style on our t-shirt.

National Bird of South Africa Cute Cartoon Blue Crane Shirt
Blue Crane of South Africa Cute National Bird T-Shirt

The Red-crowned Crane is the unofficial National Bird of China. The bird features prominently in Chinese culture; it is shown along with a map of China in our t-shirt design.

Cute Cartoon Bird Red-crowned Crane of China from Birdorable

The Grey Crowned-Crane is the National Bird of Uganda. Here, too, the bird is featured stylized on the flag, and on our shirt as well.

Grey Crowned-Crane of Uganda Cute Cartoon National Bird
Uganda National Bird Grey Crowned-Crane Cute Cartoon T-Shirt

These shirts are all available via our Amazon page.

Continue to follow Birdorable here and on Facebook as we celebrate Crane Week!

Birdorable Red-crowned Crane

Cranes in Mythology and Popular Culture

March 26th, 2018 in Cranes No comments

Almost anywhere you can find cranes living in the wild, you can find cranes in human mythology and popular culture. They are often symbols of happiness, youth, good luck, and/or peace.

In Japan, as in many other parts of Asia, cranes are regarded as symbols of good fortune, peace, and youth. Japanese legend tells that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted one wish.

Crane origami
Crane origami by Japanexpterterna.se (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In China, the Red-crowned Crane is prevalent in mythology. It is a symbol of nobility, as well as youth, longevity, and immortality.

Pine, Plum and Cranes (1759) by Shen Quan from the Palace Museum in Beijing, China

In heraldry or coats of arms, a crane is often shown holding a rock with its foot. The symbolism comes from a legend attributed to Pliny the Elder. He wrote that a group of cranes under attack put one bird on watch. The bird on guard duty would hold a rock; if the crane accidentally fell asleep, the sound of the falling rock would awaken the bird.

Crane coat of arms
Image by Christer Sundin (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The elaborate mating and pair-bonding dances performed by cranes are noted in several cultures. The Blue Crane is prominent in the culture of the Xhosa of southern Africa. Feathers from the bird are used in ceremonies to decorate distinguished men.

In native Siberian culture, the Siberian Crane is sacred, a symbol associated with the sun and spring time.

In Germany, there is a museum devoted entirely to the natural history of the Common Crane! The Kranich Museum is in a renovated manor house in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. There are displays of various pieces of artwork related to the birds, including video, murals, costumes, and other media.

The Sarus Crane is considered sacred in several Indian cultures. They are known as symbols of marital virtue because they mate for life. When a Sarus Crane dies, its mate was believed to starve to death in sorrow.

Cranes are featured in a few of Aesop's fables. In The Geese and the Cranes, a mixed flock of geese and cranes were feeding in a meadow. A birdcatcher came to ensnare them in his nets. The cranes, being light of wing, fled away at his approach; while the geese, being slower of flight and heavier in their bodies, were captured. The moral of this story is that those who are caught are not always the most guilty. Other fables attributed to Aesop that include cranes are The Wolf and the Crane and The Peacock and the Crane.

Illustration from 1909 of the fable of the geese and cranes from Aesop's Fables
Birdorable Common Crane

Crane Week 2018: Introduction

March 25th, 2018 in Cranes No comments
Birdorable Cranes

Join us in the following days as we celebrate all things cranes! It's time for our second ever Crane Week! Our first Crane Week was back in 2015.

We chose today to kick off Crane Week because the birds are honored each year in Sweden on March 25th. The Swedish Trandagen is meant to celebrate the return of migratory cranes to the country following winter. The celebration is observed in certain southern parts of Sweden.

All 15 species of crane are found here at Birdorable. To kick off this celebratory week, on Crane Day, let's take a look back at how we've featured cranes here at Birdorable in the past:

We hope you'll join us this week as we celebrate cranes on the Birdorable blog!