On April 19, a Benzie birder first noticed a Sandhill Crane nest at Upper Herring Lake Nature Preserve. The nest was a large mound of vegetation surrounded by water in a wet meadow south of the boardwalk. Exploring recent eBird reports by those who were monitoring the nest, as many as 3 cranes were observed with one always on the nest and a second crane often nearby. Parent cranes share incubation duty for 29-32 days so we knew the egg(s) had to hatch at least before May 21st. An adult was still on the nest on May 13, but the nest was empty on the 15th. The chicks are precocial; they hatch covered in down, with their eyes open and are able to leave the nest within 24 hours of hatching. We assume the parents and chick(s) are now away and safe, foraging in the brushy swamp. We’ll let you know if we see them again! Photo Credit – Joe Brooks.