I read some years ago that Sandhill Crane feathers are gray, and they only acquire their rusty brown color from rubbing mud on their feathers.
I’m glad that someone long ago (before Western scientists “discovered it”) observed this story and shared it. Despite traveling many times to see the cranes migrate by the tens of thousands, I just have never seen the behavior myself.
On Feb. 19th I was down at the wetland behind Moontree and saw some Sandhill Cranes silently descending, their legs dangling. I froze and waited for them to drop into the grass. I took the long way around to the other side of the hill so I would not disturb them.
When I peaked up my head, there they were. You’ll have to forgive me for not having better video equipment, but I took two videos. Look in the lower right quadrant of each. Then watch again and see how many Sandhills you can spot.