Within five days in late January, three sandhill cranes were reported in dire condition at the far southwest area of Sun City Center. They were harmed atrociously; one was unable to walk, the other found dead in the woods and the third killed on Platinum Drive by a hit-and-run driver. At the same time, a female resident was almost hit while protecting a crane on the street from a speeding car. The driver didn’t slow down, but sped around the person and bird. Why?
Seeing a crane, loved for its grace, beauty and dignity, lying with one wing spread across the middle of the street is haunting and won’t fade from one’s memory. When a cruising Security Patrol volunteer found the female crane on Platinum, she was still alive, flapping her wing while the excited calls of her life partner standing by carried a mile.
Cranes have no traction on asphalt roads; they can’t run or lift their 10-pound bodies to fly quickly away from danger. They move on stilt-like legs; their knees are modified heels; they actually walk on their toes.
In all human cultures that experience these birds, they are regarded with deep respect, love and awe. Our cranes are the pride and joy of our community; they choose to be here with caring seniors. Why can’t we all be kind to them? Or at least honor their state-designated Threaten Species Protective Provision (specified in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commision under 68A – 27.003 rules). Let’s keep our cranes safe.
Sun City Center
FWC Hotline: 888-404-3922.