Sandhill cranes eat and dance on farm fields near Palmer

Sandhill cranes are returning to Southcentral Alaska. Some of them nest in the area, and others are stopping to feed before continuing north to nest.

They nest as far north as the Brooks Range. Sandhills are ground nesters, preferring grassy marshes. They lay one to three eggs, but usually two eggs laid two or three days apart.

Sandhill cranes are among the tallest birds in the world, reaching 4 feet tall, and have a wingspan up to 7 feet.

In the spring, the cranes interact on the ground, leaping and spreading their wings.

Cranes feed on roots, tubers, seeds, grain, berries, frogs lemmings, small birds, frogs and earthworms.

Bob Hallinen

Bob Hallinen has been a photojournalist in Alaska since the 1980s and has traveled extensively all over the state. He retired from the ADN in November 2018 after 33 years at the newspaper.