27 March 2011

Lesser Sandhill Crane?

While out this afternoon, I photographed a Sandhill Crane in Benson, Cache County, Utah that was significantly smaller than its 20 or so companions. I've been under the impression that the only subspecies of Sandhill Crane expected in Utah is Greater (Grus canadensis tabida). This one looked to me like a Lesser Sandhill Crane (G. c. canadensis). However, I don't know whether I've ever seen the third migratory subspecies, Canadian Sandhill Cranes (G. c. rowani), which are intermediate in size between Greaters and Lessers. eBird is of little help here because apparently no Sandhill Crane records from Utah in eBird have been identified to subspecies. Does anyone know anything about subspecies of Sandhill Crane in Utah? Does this (left-most bird) look like a Lesser to you?

1 comment:

Caitlin L said...

Lessers breed much farther north, so it could be just passing through on migration as it isn't warm enough yet on it's breeding grounds. That it was by itself and not on a further east flyway is weird to me. My understanding was that lessers typically use the flyways to the east of the Rocky Mountians, but that could be wrong.