Wonder. Amazement. Lil bit of fear. And of course saying to yourself, "what the heck is that thing"?

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Now before I really get started with this story, I'm sure a fair amount of you are going to chime in and say, "oh that's a (fill in the blank) and we see those all the time".

But look at it from my side of the fence for a minute. I have only been back home in Michigan for about 4 years. Prior to coming back home, I had lived in Alaska for the previous 10 years. And before that I have lived in Michigan since around 1984.

So I've lived in (all over) Michigan for a bit. Mostly in the city (Detroit/Saginaw), but I have lived in northern Michigan for a while (Gaylord for 3 years).

I have never seen this bird before in my life. Not in person. Not flying or walking like I did yesterday on my way to my car.

It was huge and it kind of freaked me out.

McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
McConnell Adams TSM Lansing

I think it's a crane? Can you help me to be sure?

I sent a picture to my friend Stephanie because she knows things. She said it might be a heron.

Nope. Negative ghostrider.

I thought it was a crane. So I searched that.

Crane. Red head.

What I got back from Dr. Google was...Sandhill Crane?

And apparently I need to get out more as these are around and have been for a while.

Next thing I was wondering was if they were on the endangered list, are they protected like those pesky and aggressive Canadian geese, or can you hunt them and are they good eating?

Nope. Put the gun down and step away from the...cranes. If that's what I saw.

Sandhill cranes have been protected in the Great Lakes State since 1916 under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (i.e., closure of hunting in 1918), which makes it unlawful to "take" (pursue, hunt, shoot, poison, wound, or kill) the sandhill crane within the state of Michigan. (songbirdprotection)

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