Sandhill Cranes

Grus canadensis

 Modoc National Wildlife Refuge is home to a healthy population of breeding and migrating Sandhill Cranes, but this hasn't always been true. In the 1970's statewide number of Sandhill Cranes were dismal. Loss of natural habitat throughout the pacific flyway, combined with other factors, threatened the long-term existence of California's Sandhill Cranes. Numbers of Sandhill Cranes dropped 75% on many popular breeding grounds.

 In 1983 the State of California listed the Greater Sandhill Crane as threatened, and the Refuge system committed resources to ensure Crane conservation. New actions were taken to increase the Crane population, including preserving valuable habitat on their wintering grounds and taking management actions on their breeding grounds. In 1979 there were only 16 breeding pairs of Cranes at Modoc NWR. These numbers have consitently risen, and the Refuge now hosts 45-50 breeding pairs each year.  

Facts About Sandhill Cranes

Long Living: Cranes can live to be very old. It is not uncommon for them to surpass the age of 30 in the wild. Cranes in captivity have live to be more than 80 years old!