Locals and tourists alike may find these tall, elegant birds sauntering across the road or producing their famous trumpeting calls that can be heard for miles. It is not uncommon to see sandhill cranes in Sarasota and as such the residents of this artistic beachside city have come to love and appreciate them, even if that means stopping traffic once in a while to let them cross the road with their slow and graceful gait. Visitors often love the unexpected appearance of such large birds in an urban setting. The Celery Fields and Myakka River State Park are both great nature reserves in Sarasota County where they can be observed and appreciated in their natural setting of open fields and marshes.
While sandhill cranes can be seen year round in pairs, their numbers increase greatly with the coming of winter, when they migrate from the North to Florida to wait out the chilly season. Residents of Sarasota sometimes even use them as indicators of the spring season, when they start seeing the pairs transform into small family groups with one or two adorably fuzzy chicks.
Because sandhill cranes are a threatened species, they need all the help they can get to survive in a changing world. The Save Our Seabirds non-profit wildlife conservation facility in Sarasota does just that. This organization is dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing injured birds.
The birds who are unable to go back to the wild find a permanent home at their Wild Bird Learning Center, where visitors can see them up close and learn about nature and conservation. The team at Save Our Seabirds has also created prosthetic legs for some of their cranes.
They have even worked with Kevin Carroll, a well-known designer and producer of prosthetics for animals. Carroll, whose work became famous among the general public through the movie “Dolphin Tale” about the prosthetic tail he made for a disabled dolphin, teamed up with Save Our Seabirds to create a completely unique prosthetic limb for a sandhill crane who lost her leg to a golfball.
Sandhill cranes are a beautiful sight that brings joy to the local residents and to visitors who hope to get a taste of the local Florida wildlife and environment. Although these incredible birds have lost much of their environment and must now contend with a whole new set of challenges, they have proven to Florida residents that they are here to stay, and many residents appreciate their presence and do what they can to ensure their safety.