ROLLINSFORD, N.H. — A sandhill crane, who started turning heads in Rollinsford earlier this year, seems in no hurry to leave.
Although he has picked up a few nicknames, on a popular local blog, the crane is called Kevin.
Kevin has been spotted several times since the first snowfall and a video of him walking in the snow was posted about a week ago.
But as temperatures plummet this has some locals worried.
According to Becky Suomala, a biologist with N.H. Audubon Society, the sandhill crane is indeed rare for this part of the country, and that it has not flown south yet adds another layer to the mystery.
Suomala said it is hard to know why the bird is still here as sandhill cranes never used to be in this area. Between the abundant corn fields in Rollinsford and some local birdfeeders, there is food available.
“If he has some kind of injury then providing the food may be saving his life, but we believe the injury healed and as far as we know it can fly.”
Some locals, out of genuine concern, may have tried to capture the bird, but Pamela Hunt, an avian conservation biologist with New Hampshire Audubon Society posted a message to a popular birders site cautioning against such attempts.
“Greetings NH birders, It has come to our attention that some individuals have recently attempted to capture the injured Sandhill Crane in Rollinsford, with intent to convey it to a rehabilitator. This is not a recommended activity, and as much as it may upset some of us, the best course of action is to leave the bird alone. A key reason for this approach is that the crane, while injured, is fully capable of flight and appears able to feed itself. The potential risks of further injury to the bird during any such attempts far outweigh any benefit that may result to an otherwise healthy bird.”
Hunt wrote that N.H. Fish and Game is monitoring the bird’s condition, and will work with rehabilitators should their assistance be required.
Michael Marchand, the nongame and endangered wildlife program supervisor at N.H. Fish and Game, confirmed they are monitoring Kevin.
“Our hope was that it would have moved along on its own,” Marchand said. “It is a wild bird, capable of flight and we do have records of cranes lingering into December.”
According to Marchand, their regional biologist has been checking up on Kevin regularly and the crane appears to be walking much better.
Information from: Foster’s Daily Democrat, http://www.fosters.com