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Heron or Sandhill Crane?


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#1 boxmonkey

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 10:57 PM

Hello. I am hoping you can clear up an argument between myself and a friend. We can't tell if these are sandhill cranes or great blue herons. It's a poor picture and it was actually taken by a 3rd friend who doesn't know anything about birds...so it's going to be a bit of a challenge.

This picture was taken in Tampa or St. Petersburg, FL. Specifically, the birds are flying over Tampa Bay.

To keep this fair, I won't mention which species I think they are. :P


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#2 snowyowl

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 07:30 AM

It looks more like a creature from outer space, but they're great blue herons. The sandhill crane's neck isn't nearly as long.

#3 featherbrain

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 09:52 AM

It does look pretty interesting, the front bird looks like it has four wings and four legs! They are Great Blue Herons.



#4 boxmonkey

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 06:59 PM

Thanks, that is what I thought. Now, how do I convince my friend? She insists that the head shape and "wing swoop" are wrong for a heron and that they wouldn't be flying so close together, something sandhill cranes are known for.

All I can say is, I've seen a lot of herons and that's what it looks like to me. So what features in particular (aside from the neck, since that's already established now) lead you to say that it's a heron?

(the weirdness of the picture is exactly why my other friend posted it to begin with...she insists it's 1 bird with 4 wings!)

#5 snowyowl

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 07:52 PM

You are asking a lot because your picture shows very little in the way of discernable detail other than the general shape in silhouette. The great blue heron also has a bigger head and stouter bill, and its neck is slender all the way down to where it meets the torso. It's easier if you do a side-by-side comparison.  Show your girlfriend this:

 

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