This solitary sandhill crane appears to have taken a few wrong turns.

By Meghan Overdeep
July 15, 2020
Outer Banks Sandhill Crane
Credit: Facebook/Cape Hatteras National Seashore

From prehistoric fish and barnacle-crusted military devices to the occasional exposed shipwreck, the Outer Banks sees its fair share of oddities wash up on its sandy shores. But the latest arrival to stump local officials is hardly stationary. In fact, it appears to have the ability to depart at any moment.  

Cape Hatteras National Seashore says a sandhill crane has been seen roaming the grounds of Bodie Island Lighthouse, far outside its natural range.

“These birds migrate long distances from Florida and Texas to the Western United States and are typically not seen in this area,” the Seashore wrote alongside a photo of the extra-large interloper on Facebook this week.  “Sandhill Cranes are one of the largest cranes in North America....They stand between three and four feet tall with a wingspan of more than six feet!”

Commenters on the Facebook post report having seen the red-browed bird in the area of Oregon Inlet. Those who have had a run in with the animal say the crane was big, loud and “mean as heck.” Some suggested it had been “blown off course” by recent storms and ended up in the park.

Sandhill cranes nest in the northern U.S., Canada and even Siberia before migrating South to Mexico, Texas, and Florida for winter. Experts aren’t certain why the big, prehistoric-looking bird has decided to visit the Outer Banks.

Enjoy your stay, Mr. Crane!