I discovered this group of cranes standing in shallow, partially frozen pond south of Bradwell, Saskatchewan. We were looking for Sharp-tailed Grouse lek and drove past a frozen pond with a flock of over 200 cranes. What attracted me to this scene was a soft, almost surreal appearance of graceful birds enveloped in thick morning fog (we were there before sunrise). I selected a high ISO setting on my camera in hope to get fast enough shutter speed to prevent camera shake. Additional presence of digital noise softened the captured image even more.
Sandhill cranes are fairly social birds that usually live in pairs or family groups through the year. Smaller family groups consisting of parents and yearlings can be seen in fields during the fall migration. During winter and spring migration, non-related cranes come together to form “survival groups” which forage and roost together. Such groups often congregate in large groups, sometimes in the thousands.