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Feeding, Fattening and Fueling for Flight

Feeding is the main thing cranes do on the wintering grounds. They need to build up fat reserves to fuel the long flight back to the summer nesting grounds. Good winter habitat for cranes must have marshes where cranes can find lots of blue crabs, their most important food. But these long-legged birds wade in shallow wetlands to catch frogs and small critters. They walk through mud, reeds and grass to nibble plant roots, seeds and berries. They poke around for acorns, snails, insects and rodents in nearby forests. Cranes will eat fish, frogs, mice, snakes, bugs, small birds— and almost anything they can get their beaks on.



Image: Eva Szyszkoski, ICF

 

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