Florida Sandhill Cranes found nesting along busy road

Discovery made off New World Avenue

Florida Sandhill Cranes and their colts (Jeff Hill)

Florida Sandhill Cranes are a subspecies of Sandhill Cranes that live in other parts of the country including southern Florida. The Florida Sandhill Crane lives primarily in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia.

Carolyn Antman, the Conservation Director for Duval County and Duval Audubon Society, says that the Florida Sandhill Crane is protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and are listed as “threatened” by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule.

Map showing the location of the wetland where the Florida Sandhill Cranes are nesting. (Duval Audubon Society)

Recently, two families of Florida Sandhill Cranes were found nesting off of New World Avenue, a four lane highway that connects to FL-23, over by Cecil Commerce Center North.

Beside the busy road sits a large wetland area where the cranes built their nest.

These cranes and their colts were seen crossing the road, most likely in search of food, putting them in danger.

Although these birds can fly, their colts cannot, making them predominately a walking bird. Usually, colts learn to fly around 10 months of age.

Unfortunately, recent photos were shown to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Duval Audubon Society of these birds being struck by cars.

“A concerned citizen got in touch with us because he had seen a couple of cranes been hit, killed, and he didn’t know what he, as a citizen, could do,” said Antman.

As a result, the Duval Audubon Society would like to put up signs along the road where the cranes most commonly cross to inform the drivers to slow down and pay attention. They will be in touch with the city of Jacksonville to take the necessary steps to get the signs.

There is a lot of new construction in the area, which will in turn impact the wetlands and the wildlife that calls it home.

The Duval Audubon Society is asking the community to please consider contacting your Jacksonville City Council representative to share your concerns.

“But the bottom line is, every species counts, every species contributes," Antman said. “The loss of the cranes is a loss, really, to everybody.”