Save Our Sandhill Cranes (SOS Cranes) is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining open-space habitat and the conservation of the California Central Valley's Sandhill crane populations through education, outreach, and community activism. Of particular concern to SOS Cranes are the threats to the remaining suitable winter habitats in the Central Valley of California. Pending urban development and the shift from corn and rice production to vineyards is likely to dramatically diminish what little remains of the winter migratory habitat of the Lesser and Greater Sandhill Cranes in this region. The Greater Sandhill Crane, which is a state-listed threatened species, exhibits a high degree of loyalty to its specific wintering grounds, and any disturbance there will result in them being uprooted. If we lose the present population, it is highly unlikely that Sandhill Cranes from another location and population will come and take their place. The Lesser Sandhill Cranes constitute two smaller subspecies of the Sandhill Crane and are subject to the same threats of habitat loss as the Greater Sandhill Cranes.
THANKS FOR ATTENDING THE WILD & SCENIC
ENVIRONMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL
at the beautiful Crest Theater on Friday, May 10th, 2013. You helped make it a success. We hope to do another film fest next year.
A benefit for the California Heartland Project, the regional conservation vision
of Habitat2020, the Conservation Committee of ECOS.
SOSC BOARD MEMBER HONORED
Save Our Sandhill Cranes is pleased to announce that one of our Board members and fellow craniac, Lon Yarbrough, has been chosen as the Featured Artist of the 2013 Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival.
If you have not yet seen his award-winning work, go to http://sharetheroad.us/ and click on http://sharetheroad.us/field.html All the photographs on our web site are his work.
It is not too early to put November 1 to 3 on you calendar. We hope to see you there.
SEE OUR SANDHILL CRANES ON PBS
If the link is not "hot" please cut/paste to your browser.
Thanks for Coming by and visiting with us at the 6th Winter Bird Festival
SATURDAY, JANUARY 26, 2013
The City of Galt in collaboration with the Cosumnes River Preserve and Galt Joint Union Elementary School District presented the 6th Annual Winter Bird Festival in Galt. It was a smashing success with the largest crowds ever. Thanks to those of you that attended. We look forward to another fine festival January 2014. See a report at Read this story
Free Sandhill Crane Viewing Tours
Save Our Sandhill Cranes, in partnership with the Sacramento Audubon Society, has successfully concluded another year of free Sandhill Crane viewing tours. Our tours started in October 2012 and concluded in February 2013. These exciting and beautiful tours will be renewed in October 2013 when our cranes will have returned here to their Winter home from their sojourn up north to bring up the next generation of Sandhill cranes.
(Direct questions to Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sandhill Crane named Audubon California’s
2012 Bird of the Year
Jim Ridley Published: Dec 10, 2012
One of California’s favorite bird species today was named the 2012 Audubon California Bird of the Year. The Sandhill Crane received the designation after winning 43 percent of votes cast during an online poll this fall. Although the bird was a nominee for the past three years, it experienced a surge in popularity this year, going from 234 votes in 2009 to 5053 in 2012.
The Sandhill Crane is one of North America’s largest waterbirds and certainly one of the most magnificent. It provides great viewing for even the most novice birder.
“Cranes are a great bird to get into,” said Brigid McCormack, managing director of Audubon California. “They are easy to spot in the flooded fields of the Central Valley because of their large size and unique courtship dance.”
Sandhill Cranes were once common throughout the west and especially in the California Central Valley. However their populations declined drastically as a result of unregulated hunting and habitat loss during settlement of the region. In California, the breeding population was reduced to fewer than five pairs by the 1940s. Fortunately, all populations of Sandhill Cranes have increased, and in 2000 an estimated 465 pairs were breeding in California. Nonetheless, much of their historic range remains vacant and the population remains far below historic numbers.
Here is a link to a You Tube video of the recently concluded Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival
It may not be "hot" so you will probably have to paste it into your browser.
OUR FRIENDS (AND CRANES) IN ALASKA
Many of our Sacramento Valley wintering cranes spend their Spring and Summer up in Alaska near Homer. We have been pleased and privledged to meet some people from up there who, concerned about the well-being of their cranes, visited us to see them in California. We were delighted to show our Alaska friends our favorite crane-watching locations here from Staten Island to Woodbridge Road to the Cosumnes River Preserve. Their web site, filled with delightful videos, can be found at
Working together we developed an article describing what we are doing. The article can be found at
We will continue to work together with Kachemak Crane Watch to protect "our" cranes at both ends of their migratory route.
Live Crane Webcam
will take you to the livestream from a webcam located at the Cosumnes River Preserve. It operates from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Best wildlife viewing occurs October through February, when waterfowl and other water birds spend the winter at the Preserve. This is also the best time to see our Sandhill Cranes.
Also, here is a link to a recent news report on our cranes and the CR Preserve.
NO WIND TURBINE IN THE BUFFERLANDS
For a few months now the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (SRCSD) has been putting forth the terrible idea of erecting two wind turbines on Bufferlands property to generate electricty. While SOS Cranes applauds efforts to install green energy at our regional waste water treatment plant, this is certainly not a proper location for wind turbines. This location happens to be at a pinch point in the Pacific Flyway where tens of thousands of birds pass through while migrating south in the Fall and north in the Spring.
SOS Cranes, along with other local environmental groups, has been trying to get the SRCSD Board of Directors to discontinue pursuing this idea and to move to other green alternatives. After a great deal of strong public comment, the district staff has come to agree with us and has reccommended to the Board that they discontinue further evaluation of this project.
On February 22nd the Board accepted the staff recommendation. In public hearing they voted unanimously to terminate further consideration of this destructive wind turbine proposal.
Staff will continue to investigate alternative clean energy options for SRCSD that can be operated in a manner consistent with the Bufferland's conservation and wildlife habitat purposes.
SOSC is pleased to have played a part in helping to eliminate one more threat to our Sandhill cranes.
The Goose Who Thinks He Is A Crane
A YouTube video of a most unusual goose. Click here
to check it out.
If you do see this silly goose, please, please let us know exactly where.
Gary Ivey's Sandhill Crane Research
Here is a link
to a story from Oregon Public Broadcasting about the research being done by Gary Ivey on our cranes.
He has also co-authored a report on the local habitat needs of Greater Sandhill Cranes, available at the Cosumnes River Preserve's website
Mustang Airport Update
The application for an expansion of the Mustang Airport, surrounded on three sides by a bird santuary, has been withdrawn. This threat to crane habitat has, for now, been averted thanks to a broad-based public outcry. Further details can be obtained by sending a request to yogoombah (an @ sign) yahoo (then a .) com
Elk Grove's Expansion Into Crane Habitat
The following is an editorial from the Sacramento Bee published March 22, 2010. If you only get involved in local issues once or twice a year, this is one you should consider. This expansion will ruin lots of wildlife habitat and destroy a lot of agriculture.
"Why is Elk Grove vying to expand?"
The Sacramento region on April 2 celebrates the first five years of its award-winning Blueprint, a voluntary framework for reducing congestion and sprawl. Eight hundred people have signed up for an event to take stock of progress.
The hard-won Blueprint culminated in a map that set an "urban services boundary" to accommodate projected growth out to 2050. Sacramento, West Sacramento, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, Roseville and Rocklin have aggressively implemented it.
But the Blueprint is threatened at its southern boundary.
Elk Grove, which became a city in 2000, is seeking to extend its "sphere of influence," the precursor to annexation - from 27,000 acres to 37,500 acres. The city proposes to expand south from Kammerer Road and southeast from Grant Line Road, right up to the Cosumnes River and into the floodplain - well beyond the urban service boundary.
Oddly, the city is seeking expansion at a time when growth has dried up. Elk Grove's residential building permits peaked in 2004 at 4,666 and have been dropping since - to 427 in 2008. Elk Grove was a poster child for a bubble economy over-reliant on housing and has suffered foreclosure rates much higher than the county or state.
This city is in no danger of outstripping Blueprint growth projections. The proposed expansion is unnecessary. A symbol of the folly of expansion is the half-finished, abandoned Elk Grove Promenade mall and the largely unpopulated Laguna Ridge housing area.
Unfortunately, the expansion effort already has gone too far. The Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission hired a consultant to do an environmental impact report on March 3. And Sacramento County, which had rebuffed previous Elk Grove attempts to expand its sphere of influence, has drafted a memorandum of understanding that would accept Elk Grove's proposed boundary. It goes to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors in May.
Elk Grove's proposed expansion appears to be a developer-driven move that needlessly violates the Blueprint's urban services boundary and encroaches on the Cosumnes River Basin, the jewel of the south area.
Those who support the Blueprint need to stand up to stop this misguided effort - and urge the Elk Grove City Council to withdraw its expansion application.