Sandhill Cranes at Sunset on Paynes Prairie

Four-Sandhill-Cranes-at-PPSP-SunsetWhile reviewing recent images this week, I came across several that caught my attention and that I had not previously included on my website or blog. The images were taken at sunset in early January this year from the viewing platform at the end of La Chua Trail on Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park in Florida. As you can tell from the images, it was an incredibly beautiful and colorful sunset, and making it more memorable was the arrival of small groups of Sandhill Cranes.


Thousands of Sandhill Cranes winter in Florida, many at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. The cranes roost on the Prairie’s wetlands at night for safety from predators. At sunrise most of the cranes fly to nearby fields where they feed, although they also find food on the Prairie. Sandhill Cranes are omnivorous and feed on land or in shallow marshes. Their diet predominantly consists of seeds, berries, tubers, small vertebrates, and invertebrates.


Sandhill cranes mate for life and live for well over twenty years. The oldest known Sandhill Crane lived 36 years and 7 months, which was determined by its band. Although some cranes start breeding at two years of age, some may reach the age of seven before breeding. Juvenile cranes stay close by their parents for 9 or 10 months after hatching.

Below, the cranes lower their legs and gracefully land.


The above images show the cranes in flight against the gorgeous orange sunset, but they do not provide a detailed view of the cranes. Therefore, I have included the below images that I shot last year near Paynes Prairie. Sandhill Cranes with their bright red heads and orange eyes are an example of Nature’s diversity and beauty.




Comments on my blog and this article are appreciated and can be entered by clicking on “Comments” found below the Share this: section. You can also read other’s comments there.

About Stephen L Tabone

Retired Executive Consultant and Nature Photographer
This entry was posted in Bird Photographs, Nature, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Sandhill Cranes at Sunset on Paynes Prairie

  1. Kee says:

    Lovely scene of sandhill cranes flying at sunset! I wish I could fly like them.
    Thanks for the beautiful photos and story. The third picture is my favorite.
    Have a wonderful July 4th!

  2. researchlady says:

    What an unbelievable sky!!! So gorgeous especially with the cranes flying!!! I agree with Kee, blogger below, the third image is my favorite. And thanks for posting the images of the cranes below the sunset … i forgot what they looked like.

  3. Ernie Sears says:

    It was a great ending to a long day of shooting. As usual, you captured them beautifully. It is always wonderful when the cranes and ibises come back to roost at sundown. This evening it was particularly great because the clouds and atmosphere really boosted the golden color of the sun and made for special silhouettes. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Venezia Maryann says:

    love the sunset photos…..was that the actual sunset or did you enhance the orange….just love the color…. We did some of the DC fireworks on TV and than switched to the NYC over the East River…just spectacular.   MARYANN

  5. Ken Snover says:

    Goes to show you – as many times you ride through an area you often do not realize what beauty it holds – that is until somone shows you – great shots.

  6. Snover I agree. The absolute beauty of nature is so darn gorgeous.

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