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 and orchards 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, a smaller subspecies of the Sandhill Crane, is subject to the same threats of habitat loss as the Greater Sandhill Cranes.
ANOTHER YEAR OF FREE SANDHILL CRANE VIEWING TOURS HAS JUST CONCLUDED THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE JOINED US ON OUR TOURS. WE HOPE YOU HAD A GREAT TIME AND WILL JOIN US AGAIN, STARTING IN SEPTEMBER, WHEN OUR CRANES RETURN.
Save Our Sandhill Cranes, in partnership with the Sacramento Audubon Society, has provided free public tours starting at the Cosumnes River Preserve Visitor Center at 13501 Franklin Blvd, Galt CA. All tours began at 3:30pm. While cranes were the featured subject of our tours, we did get to see good numbers of geese, ducks, shore birds, and a few raptors, swans and migrants passing through. We concluded each tour with a viewing of the cranes sunset fly-in.
Tour dates were as follows.
Oct 26 & 27, 2013, Nov 23, 24, & 30, Dec 28 & 29, Jan 25 & 26, 2014, and Feb 22 & 23, 2014
Additional free birding tours can be found at http://www.sacramentoaudubon.org/
SOS CRANES RECEIVED AN AWARD
November 1, 2013
IN LODI at the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival
We are proud to announce that the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival Association awarded Save Our Sandhill Cranes its 2013 Conservation Award.
The award stated, "In appreciation for your ongoing work in haitat preservation and education to ensure a healthy future for Sandhill Cranes."
This recognition gives us the energy and encouragement to continue to strive to live up to the lofty expectations of our highly respected peers in the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival Association.
Crane poetry by B. Forman
Prepare for Landing
Welcome to Woodbridge
drop your weary wings
eat, drink, dance, rest, breathe, bond, live
welcome back to your homeland
Our Only Hope
Cranes returning to the valley
their sphere of influence
constricted by vineyards and villains
of mass destruction
converting marshes and cornfields
to tracts of streets dripping with oil and greed
shutting out the flocks with curtains and glass
turning away the trumpets of nature
to some distant shrinking field
a token of heritage whose ability to touch,
to mesmerize, to provoke is our only hope
to save our last wilderness
The Call of Courage
roars from a sleepy, misty marsh
sun cracks a smile
as the courage of cranes commands
our attention of their wisdom
illuminated at day break
expousing the virtues of the Delta
Tule fog creeps in
hiding cranes in the twilight
duo of phantoms
dancing with no one to watch
shrouded in their courtship and marvel
NEW THREATS TO OUR CRANES - water tunnels through Staten Island
Here is a brief article from International Crane Foundation web site describing their relationship to the tunnel project at Staten Island.
Here is some background information on the water tunnels and our cranes.
"New water tunnel route sets up conservation battle over Delta island"
was published in the Sacramento Bee on Sept 1, 2013 at
Other threats to our cranes
"The Public Eye: Water plan may shift Delta tunnels"
was published in the Sacramento Bee on Aug 16, 2013 at
Since the Sandhill crane is a wetland bird, water shortage issues are relevant to it. However, the Sandhill crane is especially sensitive to the loss of wetland because of its unusual roosting behavior. When these cranes roost at night they must be in shallow water with long sight lines. This is a special adaptation that has allowed Sandhill cranes to survive for hundreds of thousands of years. When the crane sleeps in shallow water with long sight lines it is safe from mammalian predators. Shallow water, about three to eight inches deep, is only part way up the legs of these tall birds. However, that same water is almost up to the belly of a coyote! So a coyote trying to stalk a crane will make a lot of splashing noise, be rather uncomfortable, and probably fail to catch a crane. This adaptive technique depends on the ready availability of large bodies of shallow water. Corn fields or rice fields, for example, are ideal if flooded in the wintertime after harvest. Rice farmers who used to burn rice stubble after harvest have found that flooding their fields not only helps decompose the troublesome rice stubble, but it is compatible with wildlife survival. This example of "wildlife compatible agriculture" is a win-win situation.